Retirees Seek Fruit Donors and Volunteers
By Julie Thunder
WHAT’S A GLEANER? For centuries, gleaners have collected food that would otherwise be wasted to feed the hungry. The term originates from the practice of landowners leaving portions of their fields or crops for the poor to harvest to feed their families.
The Senior Gleaners of San Diego County need fresh fruit donations and volunteers to feed hungry county residents. Donating fruit saves residents the work of picking and disposing of extra fruit. Donors receive a receipt for tax deduction purposes.
Since 1992, Senior Gleaners volunteers aged 55 or more have gleaned tons of produce annually throughout the county. Besides gleaning produce, the group daily collects unsold products donated by grocers. All the food is provided at no cost to the San Diego Food Bank and similar organizations.
Along with donations of produce, the organization needs volunteers to assist with picking, collection
Last year San Diego gleaners distributed nearly 252 tons of food, according to Gleaner Board President Monte Turner. “However, in our county alone, at least 500,000 tons of food is wasted annually, adding 18 percent to landfill volumes, while 500,000 people live in poverty,” he said.
“Rather than compost edible food or dump it in landfills, it makes more sense to support groups like gleaners that will get the food to people who need it,” Turner said.
Turner noted that groups listed on the Website work with various donors with all sizes of orchards: homes with only a couple of backyard trees, small orchards, and farmers with hundreds of trees.