Let’s Give It All Away Partner Spotlight: Harvest with a Heart
By NMC - November 18, 2015
Posted in Partnerships, Stories from NMC, Let's Give It All Away
Let’s Give It All Away is this Sunday, November 22. All undesignated gifts will be given to our many local food pantry partners. This week as we anticipate Let’s Give It All Away, we will highlight three of these partners. Look for stories throughout the week!
Often it’s in the everyday, ordinary moments that God shows up. For Ann Schlabach and Nancy Haines, this moment came during a preschool field trip for their kids. As they sat in the middle of a field of rotting pumpkins, they talked about the pain of watching food go to waste. Not only were they in the presence of waste, but they noticed waste in their own lives, homes and gardens; only so much was getting used, whether it was being eaten or stored.
They desired to steward well the many resources they were given, and as their conversation continued, Nancy shared her dream of sharing the abundance in her life through a charity garden. It was a vision she had nurtured for a while, waiting for the right time to act on it. For this project, God’s timing came as she sat with friends in a pumpkin patch. Ann shared Nancy’s dream of a charity garden, and a team began to form. Over the following weeks and months, the dream would begin to take shape. Their vision of helping families in the Milford area became a reality when the group launched Harvest with a Heart.
What began as a charity garden market soon grew to include a food pantry. During the growing season, Harvest with a Heart takes donations of excess garden produce from local farmers and gardeners. This produce is then offered to the Milford community for a minimum donation of 25 cents. Instead of putting those donations toward operating costs, the money goes toward one of eight local organizations in the Milford area that help enrich the community.
At the core of Harvest with a Heart is a desire to bring local, fresh and healthy produce to every person in their community regardless of the individual’s income. By receiving donations from local farmers and gardeners, the people of the community are pouring into one another. Not only do people have healthy food options, but unity and compassion in the community grow as well.
Currently Harvest with a Heart also runs the Milford Food Pantry. By adding this operation, Harvest with a Heart gives to the community well after the growing and harvest seasons end. In the food pantry they offer eggs, milk, produce, meat, canned goods, and household and personal care items to those in need. They are able to offer these products because of the physical and financial donations of those in the community.
Perhaps one of the biggest struggles facing Harvest with a Heart is getting resources in the hands of those who need them most. Sometimes it can be difficult to see true needs and to understand how to best come alongside people. Because Milford is a small community, Harvest with a Heart usually hears about needs through word of mouth as neighbors come beside neighbors, friends help friends.
Because of the communal nature of this ministry, Nancy and her team have watched their town come together. They have seen the loving and supportive nature of their hometown and are proud of their neighbors.
“It’s a beautiful thing and is not only a joy but a privilege to witness. I often think that it is not that people don’t want to help. They just need someone to lead them,” Nancy said.
Harvest with a Heart always is looking for people to join them as they serve the Milford community. During growing season, they need produce donations. They also are in need of food or financial donations throughout the entire year. Most importantly, though, they need your prayers and words of encouragement.
“We need your prayers to have strength, courage, wisdom, compassion, faithfulness and discernment. Please pray for our personal walks with God, that we will grow ever closer to Him and fall more deeply in love with Him every day. Pray that our service is out of a heart of love for Him and that we will see these ‘sheep’ with His eyes,” Nancy said.
We are called to love our neighbors, to reach out to those in need, and NMC is grateful to partner with Harvest with a Heart and to watch community members help each other.