Lending Many Ears
Bruce Shryock has been farming for years.
"We've raised sweet corn for several years and just given it to neighbors, and people we know in town and out in the country," Shryock, the owner of Shryock Callaway Farms, said.
But this year, Shryock is trying to do something a little different.
"It was one of those things were we thought 'this is a great idea,'" Julie Roark, Callaway Action Network Director, said.
That great idea became a huge donation of sweet corn.
So on a steamy Saturday morning, Shryock invited friends and volunteers to stop by one of his fields to pick sweet corn, with all the proceeds going to local food distributors.
"The demand for food is really high right now; the supply is low," Roark said. "And any kind of produce, whether it's fresh garden vegetables or sweet corn from this wonderful field, we're thrilled to be able to receive this so we can pass it out to those who need it."
As Roark puts it, volunteers are the lifeblood of organizations like SERVE and the Callaway Action Network.
"This is just a really neat opportunity for kids and for grownups alike to just get involved and do something to help their neighbor, or even a stranger," she said.
And those who showed up understand the importance of their service.
"It's fun, and you're doing it for a good cause," Columbia Boy Scout Troop 6 member August Schulte said. "But it's not that great getting poked in the eye with all of these."
"It's just a small way, I can just go out and just pick corn for somebody else that needs it a little more than I do," Hatton 4-H club member Ariana Alton said.
"To have young people come out, knowing they're just doing this as a service project for people that are not as lucky as we are, maybe," Shryock said. "It's just great to know that young people are willing to do that kind of thing."
At $1.50 per pound and nearly two truckloads full of corn. Shryock's donation is more than generous.
In fact, nearly two hours of work from over a dozen volunteers yielded more than 6,000 pounds of corn. That translates into a donation of just under $10,000.
"To accomplish anything of this nature...You know, two truckloads full of corn are going out to people who can use it," Shryock said. " So that's a success."
And for Shryock, the work is not over.
"We'll probably do this again next year, and we'll start a little earlier," he said. "Maybe get a little more organized and hoping to get more youth involved, more people in the area involved in it."
Shryock and Cedar Creek MFA Outside Salesman Otis Smith discussed staggering harvest dates and planting two plots of corn next year, giving volunteers two weekends to help out.