As economies begin falling, SoSA distribution increases


Special to the Advocate

BIG ISLAND, Va. – While U.S. and world economies were tanking and most nonprofit organizations were pulling back to guard against potential declines in donations, the Society of St. Andrew stepped out on faith. 

During the last four months of 2008 this national hunger relief ministry was able to increase the amount of food it distributed to critical feeding agencies around the nation at a time when their shelves are essentially bare.

In direct response to the escalating need faced by the nation’s hungry and the agencies they reach out to for food, the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) made a hard push in the last few months of 2008.  

Nationwide, 91 percent more food was distributed by the Society of St. Andrew from September through December 2008 than during the same months in 2007 – from 3.7 million pounds in 2007 to nearly 7.1 million pounds in 2008.

The society’s hunger relief programs had increases year over year, as well. Excess food gleaned in fields and orchards and from packing houses was up almost 25 percent from 2007. Bulk loads of potatoes and other produce salvaged through the Potato & Produce Project were up almost 8 percent. Overall, pounds of food saved and distributed during 2008 were up nearly 16 percent – from 20.2 million pounds to 23.5 million. All this food nourished hungry Americans with more than 70 million servings of fresh produce.

The number of gleaning events and volunteers were also up by healthy amounts. SoSA conducted more than 3,200 gleaning and potato drop events throughout more than 20 states last year. Nearly 31,600 volunteers picked and bagged that food.

“All of this points to a very healthy ministry,” said Mike Waldmann, SoSA’s executive director. “In order to maintain this much-needed increased level of food salvage and distribution we must depend on the generosity of our donors. There’s an abundance of food out there that, if not redirected to those in need, will go to waste. How much food SoSA can redirect to critical feeding agencies throughout the year is directly related to how much financial support we receive year in and year out. And since we can provide a serving of food for about 2 cents while keeping our overhead expenses well under ten percent, those who give can be certain their contributions will go further with SoSA than with just about any other organization.”

The Society of St. Andrew is a national, ecumenical, Advance #801600 ministry that gleans America’s fields and feeds America’s hungry. For information about the Society of St. Andrew and its hunger relief programs, call 601-850-4018 for the Mississippi office; toll free 800-333-4597 for the national office; e-mail locally, nationally, or visit