MEDICINE HAT, AB - It's a story of one good-willed organization helping another within the community.
Today, the Lions Club of Medicine Hat donated $6,000 to the Prairie Gleaners Society, for a new bag-sealer in their production line.
"It's something we felt we had to do," explained Lions Club Vice-President, James Higgins. "They feed people around the world in need and at the Lions Club, our motto is 'We Serve' and this is part of that service. Not only giving back to our local community, but to the world as well."
For those unaware, the Prairie Gleaners Society receives vegetables from farmers and greenhouses in the area, that are deemed as 'rejects' or 'surplus'. Rejects meaning they don't look aesthetically pleasing.
Then, the volunteers at the Gleaners will trim the vegetables, put them through a food-dicer and dehydrate them for packaging.
This is where the new bag-sealer comes into play.
"We put the product in plastic bags and this machine seals the bags for us," explained Prairie Gleaners President, Edward Codding. "The advantage to us, is it creates a wider seal than the way we were doing it, which is a more secured seal. So, we don't have to be worried about the bags coming open during shipping and distributing."
Codding said with the old sealer, roughly 5% of bags would break open during the shipping and handling process.
Now, with this new machine, he anticipates there will be a 0% chance of lost products in that regard.
In addition to maintaining the food, Codding stated there are several other advantages as well.
"It's also faster than the way we were doing it before. We can now have one person doing the bag sealing, where before it required two or three people to go this fast. Also, with the way we were doing it before, when we had to change the best before date on the bags, the manufacturer would charge us $450. This machine will print a date on the bags, so all we have to do is take the print-head out, change the date, put it back and away we go."
After the sealing process is complete, the Gleaners will work with partner organizations to ship this dehydrated food to people in need around the world.
Last year, the Gleaners packaged 245,000 KG's of food.
To date, the Prairie Gleaners Society has helped supply dehydrated vegetables to over 50-countries.
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