Every October, the staff and volunteers of the Lutheran World Federation in Jerusalem begin the six-week process of harvesting the 800 olive trees that dot the hillsides around Augusta Victoria Hospital on the LWF’s Mount of Olives campus. For centuries the olive harvest has been a source of sustenance for the people of the Holy Land, and the LWF continues this tradition with its own harvest.
Nearly 2 tons of olives are picked each year by local staff and volunteers and the fruit is pressed into olive oil at an olive press in nearby Beit Jala or Latrun. The money raised from the LWF olive oil goes towards the LWF Jerusalem Program and Augusta Victoria Hospital’s Fund for the Poor. The Poor Fund helps to cover the hospital’s operational costs and the healthcare fees of patients unable to pay.
You are welcome to join us during the olive harvest, usually from October 15 to the end of November. If you live in the Jerusalem area or are planning to visit Jerusalem as a pilgrim or tourist, please consider dedicating a half day or more to volunteering in the The Lutheran World Federation’s olive groves on the Mount of Olives. It is a marvelous experience for the entire family! Students and others here for a longer period often split their time between olive picking in the early mornings and/or late afternoons and exploring Jerusalem and its environs during the rest of the day.