Volunteers, ages 55 and older, glean surplus food from fields, groves, backyards, and stores. Since 1994, the organization has donated tons of food annually to local agencies that feed the hungry. Senior Gleaners is affiliated with the San Diego County Office of Aging and Independent Services.

Currently the organization numbers about 100 volunteers with ages ranging from 55 into their 80s. The group has two functions:

1. Gleaning produce weekly from donors throughout San Diego County. Small crews work in most areas of the county.
2. Gleaning unsold grocery products four days weekly from grocers in Central, South and East County locations.

Results of Our Work

The group donates collected food to the San Diego Food Bank through its partner Heaven's Windows in Spring Valley and to about 30 similar food distribution agencies. Recipient groups include food pantries, apartment complexes for senior and low income residents and programs helping feed children and students.

During 2020, volunteers distributed 141,000 pounds of food that otherwise may have gone to waste. We gleaned about 110,000 pounds of fruit and nearly 30,000 pounds of groceries despite COVID19 complications. Volunteers contributed 5,542 hours for a productivity rate of 26 pounds of food gathered per hour of service.

Watch Volunteers at Work

Watch A News Segment showing crew members picking fruit on a rare rainy day and delivering it to a food pantry.

Board of Directors

The governing body of Senior Gleaners is a volunteer board. The board meets quarterly to review operations and finances. There are no age requirements for membership and board members need not participate in active gleaning. Click here to read profiles of board members and the part-time administrative assistant.


Feel free to use information contained in news releases and sample articles to include in newsletters and websites.

  • Click here for news release announcing joint Website for all gleaning groups in San Diego County
  • Click here for general newsletter/Website articles

Are you wondering: "What's a gleaner, anyway?" Gleaners collect the remaining crop from a field left over from harvest. The practice goes back to biblical times: "When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not be so thorough that you reap the field to its very edge, nor shall you GLEAN the stray ears of grain. Likewise, you shall not pick up the grapes that have fallen. These things you shall leave for the poor..." Leviticus 19:9-10