Polite Canada Logo

Charity Spotlight: Fraser Valley Gleaners Society

The Fraser Valley Gleaners Society (FVG) is a non-profit foundation based in Abbotsford, British Columbia. They have volunteers that take donated surplus and non-marketable vegetables and turn them into a dehydrated vegetable soup mix to be given away to partner organizations that distribute food to hungry people and those in need around the world.

A gleaner is a person who engages in gleaning, utilizing crops and resources left behind in a harvest. In historical times, landowners were mandated by law to ensure that sufficient un-harvested food was left to enable the less fortunate. Fraser Valley Gleaners is a non-profit organization that operates in the same spirit.

As a registered Canadian charity, FVG is both volunteer and donor-driven. Fresh and frozen vegetable produce, as well as pulses (protein for the soup mix), are donated by a committed and growing set of produce and pulse partners. Generous donations from financial partners made up of individuals, foundations, and corporate sponsors cover FVG’s operating costs.

On weekday mornings, volunteers from many walks of life give their time and energy to sort and process the vegetables. The produce is chopped and diced, then spread on trays. The trays are placed in racks and the racks wheeled into industrial-size drying units. Drying times are between 8 and 10 hours. The dried product is then removed from the trays and stored in barrels. Once there is an entire season’s worth of dried items for the soup mix, the mixing lines are set up and several of the winter months are devoted to transforming individual barrels of vegetables into a versatile just-add-water soup mix. The volunteers work efficiently, producing the equivalent of 150 bowls of soup per hour. FVG has about 60-72 people volunteering each day, from 8:30 AM to 12 PM, Monday to Friday year-round.

The volunteers and donors make it possible for FVG to give the soup mix away at no cost to reputable distribution partners that deliver the soup bags to those in need around the world. FVG makes a positive impact by contributing to food recovery and providing humanitarian aid. The operation is impactful locally as well, creating a place of social inclusion where people of all ages can come together and contribute to a good cause. This sense of community is important to seniors, and the charitable work creates a positive opportunity to connect with the younger generations. Anyone is welcome to volunteer, with no need to sign up, and no long-term commitment.

In 2023 alone, the Fraser Valley Gleaners Society provided more than 13.1 million meals for distribution to those in need.

Learn more, donate, or plan to volunteer