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Helping to Feed the World

Regina, Sask., Dec. 12, 2020 – A bit of cheer reached impoverished communities in at least a dozen different countries in the past months after Avena Foods donated over 200,000 lb. of rolled oats and quick oats to the international non-profit organization Gleanings for the Hungry.

“What an incredible impact those oats are making in some very desperate nations,” said Gleanings’ Andy Rotunno from their base in California. Gleanings is a volunteer-run organization dedicated to feeding hungry people globally through food programs, mercy ministry, education, community building, and empowerment initiatives.

“We sent them large supersacks of oats that were safe for human consumption, but didn’t meet our Avena Purity Protocol standards for manufacturers,” said James Del Frari, Plant Manager at Avena’s Regina facility. “Andy and his team re-bagged the 1,000-lb totes into small packages to donate around the world.”

Gleanings network of partners distributed the oats in Mexico, Venezuela, Namibia, Nicaragua, Albania, Romania, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Philippines, Haiti and South Africa.

In 2020, Gleaning distributed more than three million pounds of shelf-stable food donations such as oats, peas, lentils and other nutritious products donated from industry partners.

“We are aiming to increase in the coming year due to the exponentially growing need from the COVID-19 crisis, systemic poverty, economic collapses, famine and natural disasters,” Rotunno said.

Kendra Doutt, of Gleanings ministry partner Engage Nicaragua, recorded this message as she headed into Rio Malacatoya with a load of food: “Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. Right now, I’m headed into a village and I have soup mix, rice mix, dried fruit and oats with me. It’s just an absolute miracle that we have those products in our warehouse and we’re able to respond. The people in this community have been praying to find a way to stay healthy. So thank you so much.” Engage Nicaragua distributed Avena oats to thousands of people left destitute in June following hurricanes Eta and Lota.

“We picked Gleanings for this donation since they were able to handle bulk shipments and get it done quickly and efficiently,” Del Frari said. But this is not Avena’s first delivery to Gleanings. “Avena and our producers have donated split peas to them from the Rowatt facility in the past, so we had established a working relationship before this donation, which made it easy to do.”

Learn more about Gleanings for the Hungry.