Green Harvest is a next gen community group that is a wonderful example of human compassion. What is it you ask? Good question… it’s not a food pantry, in that it doesn’t hand out sacks full of food to homeless people. It is not a soup kitchen, as there is no "gotta sit through a sermon to get a bowl of soup" component. I don’t know what to call it other than an alternative food source… with dignity.
Jeff Green, a friend of mine for some years, had served as a pastor, in vocational ministry. And his heart was pulled to the need of working families who suffer from what he calls "Food Insecurity". In other words, the family/person has food, just not enough. The amount and quality of food affects the most basic of decisions the family/person makes throughout the week, including if they can buy medicines or gas. And Jeff saw that a lot of organizations around him help the homeless, the jobless, etc. But who helps the single mom who works for $9 an hour six days a week and just isn’t making it? Jeff’s answer was to step up.
So Jeff Green started Green Harvest. His goal? To be Part of the Solution… he realizes he can’t solve his clients’ problems (notice how much dignity that term gives the food recipients), but he CAN partner with other community systems. So he helps hundreds of clients with one week’s worth of groceries a month. And to help them retain dignity (ever think about how humiliating some food programs are?), clients walk into his facility, grab a shopping cart, and shop his aisles for their needs – a program he calls CLIENT CHOICE. Their cost? Zero. He also helps them with computer training (hard to find a better job if you’re not on the internet), and lends an ear to their hurts. <pictured: Me, Jeff, and Dave – a key volunteer – at Green Harvest>
The coolest part of all of this? Jeff does this BECAUSE of his faith, in order to live out what it means to be Jesus to his community. There is not the usual trappings of a religious based food pantry. What there is, is a demonstration of Jesus’ love – no strings attached and with dignity – before any relational conversation about faith. And Jeff does this full time as a volunteer! He does not receive a salary from Green Harvest. He donates a full work week, every week, to the working poor of the Kane, Will, DuPage, and Kendall county area of Chicago.
If you want to help be PART of the solution, you can contact Jeff Green here. The next time you sit down for a meal, think about Jeff… because he’s thinking about those who can’t.