Humans of LSE: Lauryn Medbery


Chloe Heller, Co-Editor-in-Chief

There is an unexplainable feeling when you put your whole heart into doing something for someone else; this is a feeling that Southeast senior Lauryn Medbery has enjoyed experiencing for the past three summers at “Gleanings for the Hungry” in the small town of Dinuba, California. Medbery first attended Gleanings for the Hungry as a one-week volunteer with her church group, turning unsold peaches into dried fruit for 90 countries in need of nutritious food.

“As a volunteer, we did hard labor work for about seven hours a day,” Medbery said.

Volunteers stand at a conveyor belt, first discarding all rotten peaches, cutting and taking the pits out of each of them, and then flipping them skin-down so the juices dry into the peach.

“It is so worth it in the end to hear and see the results of the peaches we processed that week,” Medbery said, even though the work is long and tiring.

This summer, Medbery served as a summer staffer instead of a volunteer and stayed in Dinuba for five weeks.

“I did a lot of forklifting-moving trays and peach bins where they needed to be,” Medbery said. “We oversee the volunteers and control the stations that the volunteers work at. Things like dumping the bins of peaches to start the conveyor belt, controlling the speed of the conveyor belt, controlling the stacks of trays and any of the five or more forklifting jobs that are going on all at once.”

This experience has taught Medbery work ethic and selflessness. “It opens your eyes to what you have and how good of a life you are living. It is also cool to be able to know that we are helping people that can’t receive the basic needs or the nutrition that we get in our homes.”

There are many reasons why Medbery continues to return to Gleanings for the Hungry summer after summer. “It feels like it is my home for the summer. The people there are so amazing and they welcome me each time with a wonderful experience. I get to grow in my faith in a way that [makes] it hard to go back home,” Medbery said.

Because of these things, as well as many others, Medbery is already planning on working summer staff at Gleanings for the Hungry again next summer.