Liberty students package food for third-world countries

Gabe Waldbaum, Editor-in-Chief

Half a million pounds of fruit. A million and a half servings of soup. One week. Seniors Emily Wong, Tristan Naval, and junior Kelly Jinguji traveled down to Dinuba, California to help package food for those in third world countries.

The students participated in the program called Gleanings for the Hungry. For the entire week, seven hours a day, these students cut, dried, and stacked donated peaches, nectarines, and apples in a factory with fellow church members.

“It’s really cool because you see how much you process and you know it’s going to go to someone who needs it,” Wong said.

The students’ church, Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, offers this volunteer trip every year to the entire community, but the youth of the church are the main ones taking the opportunity to give support.
“It’s very refreshing to go there and get out of your daily routine,” Jinguji said. “Just knowing there are people out there who lack these basic resources that I take for granted makes it humbling to go on the trip and help those around me and around the world.”

The fruit donated was rejected from markets, but, through the factory process, it becomes perfectly edible for people to eat. After their work shift, the students relaxed or participated in church events.
“Throughout the middle of the week I was starting to think about the meaning of everything, and the work that everyone does for each other and why,” Naval said. “It was a really good experience, and I got to know a lot of people.”

This was Wong’s third year, Naval’s first year, and Jinguji’s second year in the program.
“It just makes you feel good because you are giving someone their next meal—especially in developing countries where some of the people don’t know when their next meal will be,” Wong said.