Founding group retires and Shari Rightmer is new president

Laborers of the Harvest, a local non-profit that serves more than 530 families and more than 2300 individuals each month, has a new leadership team.

On Oct. 1, Shari Rightmer took over as President and Cathy Edgecomb became secretary.

“Laborers of the Harvest is a highly successful organization and we intend to maintain the tradition, vision, dedication to spiritual principles, and open-hearted giving that they have shown over 30 years," Rightmer said. "This is a huge honor that has been entrusted to us.”
She says that the volunteer base will remain the same and noted most of the volunteers for both organizations are people who currently depend on the assistances or were once recipients of the organizations’ services.

The change in leadership was brought on due to the retirement of Laborers of the Harvest founder Mike Long. Long is retiring to spend more time with his wife and family. He has been speaking to Shari for some time about taking over the organization since her group demonstrates a similar commitment to the homeless and underserved segment of the Taft population.

Laborers of the Harvest’s focus is on food, gleaning and distribution. Shar-On has multiple programs in addition to the daily feeding schedule. These include self-esteem building and life-skills courses such as food prep certification, warehousing, inventory, safety classes, personal banking classes as well as art and dance classes.

Rightmer said she sees this as a perfect match between the two organizations.

“The people we serve are very similar and together we can touch and impact thousands of lives each month.”

The transition is not without its challenges. Shar-On receives food once a week from the Golden Empire Gleaners. Laborers of the Harvest glean throughout the area huge quantiites of food and need a truck to haul the trailer that the organization owns. Rightmer says she is hopeful that someone or some organization can help them with this essential equipment. “We have freezers, a warehouse, and so many things that are truly a blessing. I am sure that somehow a truck will be provided. I have faith.”

Laborers of Harvest is located at 200 Harrison St, Taft Ca. An Open House will be held in January or February of 2020.

Rightmer is President of Shar-On, another Taft non-profit that serves a similar population to Laborers of the Harvest. Shar-On prepares and serves hot meals to the hungry every night at 5:30 at St. Andrews Church.

In addition, Shar-On offers a wide variety of self-esteem and life-skills classes free of charge to the community.