Fighting Food Insecurity

We feed the hungry by gathering surplus crops and unsold groceries for food distributors across San Diego County. Help us by volunteering, donating or both!

Latest News

Expansion into North County

Thanks to the recent addition of new volunteers who live in North County, Senior Gleaners is seeking crop donations and more volunteers in the Fallbrook, Bonsall and Pauma Valley areas. Read a recent news release announcing the expansion.

Gleaner Brochure in Spanish

We have translated our basic information flyer. Download a copy to help recruit crop donors and volunteers. Contact us to receive a supply of full-color, printed flyers in English and Spanish.

Thank You

Our heartfelt thanks go out to:

  • Mission Beach Women’s Club for funding purchase of thorn-proof gloves, picking poles and fuel for our van.
  • St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church for a grant following its 90th annual White Elephant Sale. Senior Gleaners received funds for equipment enabling us to purchase “long-handled” clippers, poles, gloves, and picker replacement heads. 

DIY Harvesters

A recently updated list of distribution sites will help you find a nearby location where you can take surplus food.

New Board Members

We’d like to extend a warm welcome to new board members, Carlos Cortez and Josef Strasser, both of whom bring years of management experience along with a passion to serve the community.

Carlos Cortez, board member

Carlos Cortez is currently a business strategist with a background in management and consulting in various industries, including the food sector. He is also a member of the team behind the Nourish Movement, a multi-sector group of business leaders and entrepreneurs looking to address human and planetary health through Food is Medicine solutions.

Picture of Joe Strasser, board member

Josef (Joe) Strasser and his wife returned to California in 2022 following 20 years in North Carolina and a career in regulatory toxicology within the pharmaceutical industry. He served as a boy scout leader and council member as well as years on the Board of Education for the Charlotte Diocese. Joe now volunteers on the senior volunteer patrol for the Fallbrook Sheriff and as a docent for the San Luis Rey Mission in Oceanside.

Senior Gleaners is governed by a volunteer board that meets quarterly to review strategy, operations and finances. Read more about Carlos and Joe’s backgrounds along with our other board members.

Senior Gleaners Volunteer Appreciation Picnic

Senior Gleaners 2023 Picnic
2023 – Senior Gleaners Volunteer Appreciation Picnic

Senior Gleaners held a Volunteer Appreciation picnic April 15 at Mission Bay Park. Volunteers were thanked for their hard work in collecting fruit and groceries to feed the hungry. So far this year, gleaners have picked 53,000 pounds of fruit and 6,600 pounds of groceries and delivered the results to 23 distribution sites. This effort saved all the product from otherwise being wasted.

Aprille Geier from San Diego County Department of Agriculture spoke about the importance of having no stems or leaves in the picked product to limit the spread of the Asian Citrus Psyllids. In Florida, 75% of the citrus crop has been lost due to the disease. In California, Asian Citrus Psyllids have been found in Los Angeles, Oceanside and Rancho Bernardo. Senior Gleaners remain vigilant in looking for signs of infestation.

Thank you gifts of succulents were distributed to attendees and raffle prizes were distributed. The Volunteer of the Year designation was presented to Jayanti Menches, Calin Cionca and Monte Turner for their yearlong dedication to improving this website.


We welcome volunteers 55 years and above. Sign up today by completing our online form.

Donate a Crop

Our crews glean from as few as one or two backyard trees, orchards and farms. If you have crops to donate please contact us. You receive a receipt for tax deductions.

Donate Funds

We rely on grants and donations from our volunteers, their family members and residents. Please support our work with funds, vehicles and more.

Reduce Waste

About 40% of landfill volume is organic material — much of it food waste, producing harmful methane gas. Learn better ways to shop, store food and protect the environment.

Gleaners in Action

What’s a Gleaner? For centuries, gleaners have collected food that would otherwise be wasted. The term originates from landowners leaving portions of their fields or crops for the poor to glean — collect bit by bit.

We Made Quite a Community Impact in 2022


Pounds Crops Picked


Pounds Groceries Collected


Volunteer Hours Recorded


San Diego County Resident Donors

Read What San Diegans are Saying About Us

Residential Fruit Donor

“I rely on the gleaning crew to help me pick my trees. I donate in memory of my wife who planted them many years ago.”

Leonard S.

Senior Volunteer

“Why I like gleaning: It’s useful, fun, outdoors, reduces waste, feeds people. When picking I’m enmeshed in layers of generosity: from those who grow the food; from pickers who give time, work, gas; from distributors; and from many recipients who share the food with family and neighbors.”

Anne G.S.

Monetary Donor

Linda Loehr

“My daughter is one of your volunteers and she feels strongly about the organization.”

Linda L.

Surplus Food Distributor

Angela W Heaven's Windows

“Our clients are delighted to see fresh fruit and more-so when they learn it was donated and picked by neighbors.”

Angela W., Heaven’s Windows

Your Questions Answered

Gleaners Juggling Lemons
Our volunteers keep active, make friends and give back to the community.

What does the Senior Gleaners organization do?

We provide quality food, otherwise wasted, to those needing it the most while giving meaningful activity to seniors.

How can I contribute to Senior Gleaners?

Volunteer to harvest crops, collect groceries, donate equipment and funds or employ special skills to support our mission.

How do I get started at my first glean?

After you register, a crew leader will contact you and assign you to a glean. They will also provide a brief orientation with helpful tips and information about the property. New grocery volunteers join crews using their own vehicles or a Senior Gleaners van.

Want to give us a try before joining or bringing a friend?

Get a Guest Waiver and give it to the crew leader at the glean. We also require the waiver for ALL minor guests who must be at least five years old.

How are gleans planned?

Our system assigns donors to the crew leader covering their geographic area. We meet or speak with crop owners and discuss logistics before scheduling the glean.

Who should I contact if I have additional questions?

Email or call 619.633.9180. We are always happy to assist you.

Some volunteers use a Senior Gleaners van to haul groceries from stores to distributors.
Some volunteers use a Senior Gleaners van to haul groceries from stores to distributors.
Scroll to Top