Just like Ruth

Several times each year, our church does community service projects. This morning we packed up the kids and drove all the way to Zellwood to glean fields for The Society of St. Andrew. The Society of St. Andrew is, in their own words, “a Christian ministry dedicated to gleaning America’s fields and feeding America’s hungry [by providing] healthy, nutritious produce to society’s most vulnerable through innovative, cost effective programs.”

We thought we were going to be picking citrus fruit, but instead were sent into a cornfield. At first glance, it looked like the field had been picked clean. But when we looked closer, we found lots and lots of corn still on the plants. Apparently it’s not economical for the farmers to send the harvesters through a second time. Instead of just turning all that good corn under when they till the fields, they allowed us to come in and pick everything we could find. Our group of around 50 adults and children picked several large truckloads of corn. We were told that it would be distributed today, and probably eaten tonight.

We were encouraged to sample the corn as we picked. I haven’t eated fresh corn, raw, straight from the field (or still in the field) since I was a kid. I remember “stealing” ears that had just been picked from our friend’s huge garden, and hiding in the woods with my sister and our friend to eat the raw sweet corn. I husked an ear for Micah first, and she was hooked from the first bite. Ellie and Bethany weren’t far behind, and also loved it. Tim had never eaten raw corn before and enjoyed it… until he finished eating it and started having an allergic reaction. I think he’s allergic to almost all raw vegetables.

The day provided a good opportunity to talk about those who are less fortunate than we are, and also to go over the story of Ruth. There’s nothing like life experience to bring bible stories to life. I hope that every time the girls read or hear the book of Ruth, they’ll think about today and have a better understanding of what was going on.

One last thing: despite having lived here for almost two years, it still seemed a little odd to be picking corn in early May. “Knee-high by the fourth of July”? Not in Florida!