Gleamers and Blenders have been part of Northumberland County’s non-governmental support system for so long that even its director, Charles Howard, isn’t sure how long the food donating organization has been operating. “First Baptist, Macedonia and Mount Olive churches started it in the 70s,” he said last week.

Now, Howard says all the area’s churches help, which is a good thing with the disruptions of the Coronavirus sending more families to Gleamers and Blenders for help.

The second, third and fourth Thursdays of the month, Gleamers and Blenders distributes food to families from 10 a.m. until noon from their building in Burgess. The number of families using Gleamers and Blenders has risen to 35 or 40 Howard said.

Howard and the organizations 12 active volunteers collect, bundle and carry out to the families the food they need. Actually, the group has more than 12 volunteers but some, who are in their 80s now aren’t able to do as much as they’d like, Howard noted.

Gleamers and Blenders obtains its foods from several sources. One main source is Food Lion which donates meat, bakery goods and produce that have passed their “sell by” dates. “The food is still good,” Howard said.

Healthy Harvest, a food bank, is also a major source of the Gleamers and Blenders’ supplies. “It sells us meat at 19 cents a pound and produce at 9 cents,” Howard pointed out.

Early on Thursdays, Howard and his volunteers go to Food Lion and other sources to pick up the food. They then take it to the organization’s building and put together the orders for the families that will start picking it up at 10.

With the current difficulties Gleamers and Blenders is available to anybody. If unexpected people turn up, Gleamers and Blenders help them. “We don’t turn down anybody,” Howard said. “We’re like family.”