Making a Difference

Powered by senior volunteers, we are one of the most productive gleaning groups in Southern California.

Who we are

Established in 1994, we are one of the first gleaning groups in San Diego County and one of the largest with more than 200 senior volunteers. Since our founding, we have collected more than 7 million pounds of food. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, we depend on donations and grants for our funding.

What we do

We gather surplus food at no charge to resident donors or recipients. We also provide meaningful activity and social connections for our senior volunteers. Residents and businesses benefit since we save them the labor of picking or disposing of extra food in exchange for a tax deduction. Additionally, we keep tons of organics out of landfills thereby reducing methane gas.

How we do it

Volunteers collect and transport food to distributors. Most people work 3-4 hours one day per week, but there are no required minimums. Some form mini-crews that set their own schedules.


Board of Directors

The governing body of Senior Gleaners is a volunteer board that meets quarterly to review operations and finances. There are no age requirements for membership and board members need not participate in active gleaning.


Trixxie Land, Administrative Assistant

Special Service Volunteers

  • Calin Cionca, website developer
  • Tracy Ream, grant researcher/writer
  • Monte Turner, website editor
  • Dick Yates, Gleanweb webmaster and designer
  • Ani Zadikyan, Facebook collaborator
  • Daryush Bastani, photographer

Crew Leaders

  • Margaret Burton, Clairemont 
  • Nancy Chen, Rancho Santa Fe, Poway
  • Cheri Gabler, East County
  • Chris Mara, South County


Annual volunteer picnic – celebrating 7 million pounds of food saved since 1992.

Thirty years and counting

Thirty years ago, three men riding in a pickup truck in North San Diego County saw fields of crops that were going to waste, while many San Diegans were going hungry. Laurel Gray, a retired Lutheran minister, and two farmers, Dene Hatch and George Norton, vowed to do something about it, modeling their idea around a program in Sacramento called “Senior Gleaners”.
The trio’s forward thinking resulted in the founding of Senior Gleaners of San Diego County on June 16, 1992. The group officially received non-profit certification from the IRS in 1994.

Founding Member Tribute

Laurel Gray
Laurel Gray

Laurel has been the longest-serving board member and is primarily responsible for our continued success.
Although retired from a lifetime of work with the Lutheran Church, he initially helped with day-to-day operations and served as board president most of the years between 1992 and 2016, with continued board membership through 2020.
To fund the group’s early work, Laurel applied for grants, sought support from churches, and raised funds from volunteers, sources that continue today. His most notable accomplishment has provided major ongoing funding since the late 1990s — a $200,000 donation from the estate of North County dairyman E.J. Allen.
Laurel has always put community first–advocating for the homeless along with voting and immigration rights.
Along with members of his family, Laurel remains one of our most generous financial donors and has included Senior Gleaners in his will.

Financial Stability

Thanks to generous support from grants and donors, Senior Gleaners is financially stable and follows non-profit best management practices. Learn how you can support Senior Gleaners and give back to your community.

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