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Ontario ag feeding displaced people in Ukraine

Ontario ag feeding displaced people in Ukraine

The Southwestern Ontario Gleaners has sent over bags of dehydrated soup mix

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

An Ontario non-profit organization is using locally produced vegetables to help keep Ukrainians fed as the conflict in that country continues.

The Southwestern Ontario Gleaners, a Leamington, Ont. volunteer organization which provides communities in need with dehydrated soup mix and fruit snacks, is sending 3lb bags of the soup mix to Ukraine.

“The ingredients come from local farmers,” Tina Quiring, the non-profit’s treasurer, told “It’s mostly carrots and potatoes since we live in an area where there’s lots of these kinds of vegetables. We are so blessed the farming community is always ready to help out and send us as much produce as we can possibly take.”

The Gleaners purchase ingredients like lentils, peas and rice to make the soup balanced and nutritious.

The Gleaners also received 26 pallets of frozen food from Quebec.

Each bag contains about 100 servings of soup.

To date, about 250,000 servings, or around 2,500 bags have been shipped to the Ukraine. And the organization has ambitions to send more, Quiring said.

“We’re hoping to send another 500,000 servings (or about 5,000 bags) in the next month,” she said.

While the Gleaners prepare the mix, it’s shipped to Ukraine through Loads of Love out of Chatham, Ont. Loads of Love collects donations from the community and distributes them globally.

Loads of Love also has an established presence in Ukraine working with orphanages in the country.

Loads of Love has provided the Gleaners with photos of the people in Ukraine eating the soup mix prepared in Ontario.

The images are a reminder of how connected everyone is, Quiring said.

“It’s very gratifying and meaningful,” she said. “I like to say it’s a world wide web because the food started on the farm, came to us, it got brought to Loads of Love and then shipped to Ukraine. It reminds us that we truly are all in this together.”

The Gleaners also help keep food out of landfills.

In 2021, the organization provided more than 2.4 million servings of soup worldwide, diverted more than 973,000 pounds of food from landfills and provided more than 180,000 servings to food banks.

Anyone interested in making a donation can do so on the Gleaners website or contact Tina Quiring at 519-818-7601.

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