Help needed for cit­rus bounty

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JENNY LING

Auck­lan­ders are be­ing urged to roll up their sleeves — and climb the odd lad­der – for a good cause.

With cit­rus trees across the city burst­ing with fruit, Com­mu­nity Fruit Har­vest­ing needs neigh­bour­hood co-or­di­na­tors around Auck­land to man­age fruit pick­ing in their area.

The char­ity picks un­wanted fruit from con­sent­ing homes to pro­vide food for hun­gry fam­i­lies.

Founder and Auck­land cood­i­na­tor Di Cel­liers says the busiest time of year is cit­rus sea­son from late June to the end of Septem­ber.

‘‘The group has grown tremen­dously since I started it three years ago,’’ she says.

‘‘The ex­ist­ing team of co­or­di­na­tors can’t get to all the fruit we hear about, es­pe­cially over the busy cit­rus sea­son.

‘‘We hate fruit go­ing to waste and would love to ex­pand our net­work of co­or­di­na­tors to cover Auck­land fully.’’

Co-or­di­na­tors need to be re­li­able, re­spon­si­ble and pas­sion­ate about help­ing oth­ers.

The role in­volves man­ag­ing re­quests to pick fruit from lo­cal gar­dens or or­chards, or­gan­is­ing vol­un­teer pick­ers and ar­rang­ing for the fresh fruit to be de­liv­ered to char­i­ties or pre­served.

The fruit is dis­trib­uted to food­banks, the Sal­va­tion Army, schools and city mis­sions.

About 40 people are in­volved in mak­ing jams and mar­malades. So far 50,000kg of fruit has been col­lected and do­nated and about 5000 jars of pre­serves made.

Leigh Quadling-Miernik be­came a co-or­di­na­tor for Devon­port and Taka­puna two years ago. ‘‘I don’t have much money to give to char­i­ties but I can give time and work, so this is what I can do,’’ she says.

‘‘Pick­ing fruit is some­thing can do with my kids.

‘‘They en­joy run­ning about pick­ing and eat­ing the fruit, love to see their ef­forts amount to full boxes of pro­duce and en­joy the com­pe­ti­tion of find­ing the big­gest

I ap­ple, grape­fruit or fei­joa.

‘‘It doesn’t take too much time, is out­side and teaches them to be char­i­ta­ble.’’

Co­or­di­na­tors also need to have their own trans­port.

Fruit­ful labour: Leigh Quadling-Miernik en­joys pick­ing fruit to give to oth­ers.

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