Grocery Store Encounter Inspires Tennessee Church’s Food Ministry That Feeds Thousands

Jesus said, “let nothing be wasted.”

A volunteer operation that feeds 20,000 individuals each week started out with a chance grocery shopping encounter.

Four years ago, a member of Collierville United Methodist Church in Collierville, Tennessee, was shopping at local Costco when he spotted an employee loading up pallets of leftover fresh produce.

According to WREG, he inquired about the fate of what appeared to be still-edible food. He was surprised to learn that it was all headed for the dumpster.

"What if I come pick it up?" he asked.

And every day since, that's exactly what volunteers from Collierville United Methodist Church have been doing.

For four years, the church's non-profit Resource Redistribution Ministry (RRM) or simply the "Gleaning Ministry," has been redistributing fruits, vegetables, and other perishable foods donated by area grocers to food-challenged populations.

Without this redistribution channel, this edible food would be destroyed.

With help from 55 dedicated volunteers, RRM makes daily pick-ups at Memphis-area retailers like Costco and Trader Joe's and immediately redistributes perishable food through churches, food pantries, and senior living communities.

In the last 2 years, RRM redistributed 973,400 pounds of fresh food to needy individuals and families throughout Shelby, Fayette, and Desoto counties—the equivalent of more than 730,000 meals.

Without this redistribution channel, this edible food would be destroyed.

Tommy Hart, President and co-coordinator of RRM, says that the inspiration and guiding light for the ministry comes directly from Jesus who commanded in John 6:12 "let nothing be wasted."

RRM relies on donations to continue feeding hungry people. These donations cover the costs of gasoline, insurance, and maintenance of their two-vehicle fleet of refrigerated vans.

To donate and learn more, visit

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