Two Peninsula groups have joined forces to keep the Sidney Lions food bank stocked full of fresh fruit and vegetables this summer and fall.
The Brentwood Divas, a group of women dedicated to sustainability and the environment, paired with the Farmlands Trust to start a program they dubbed Stop Fruit Drop. With the help of pickers, the groups assist homeowners who are unable to handle the volume of fruit or vegetables in their gardens and yards. They share the produce with the homeowner (if he or she is interested), keep a small portion to sell through the Farmlands Trust and give the bulk to the food bank.
“Last year we started doing fruit recovery in local yards, but we felt we needed wider reaching arms,” explained Brentwood Diva Janet Cram. “By teaming up with Farmlands Trust it fills their mandate to enhance local farming capacity and it fills our purpose of spreading the word about sustainability and environment.”
Cram said the program is taking off and the group expects to get busier through the summer and fall.
“We’ve done a few picks already and we’re going into apple and plum season so we’re hoping to have lots of fresh produce to pick for the food bank. We’re really excited,” Cram said.
Sidney Lions food bank administrator Bev Elder said the service the two groups are providing to the food bank is invaluable.
“Fresh produce, or fresh anything really, is something we don’t get enough of at the food bank,” she said.
According to Elder the food bank serves 1,100 Peninsula-based clients a month, 39 per cent of whom are children under 16 and 12 per cent of whom are seniors 65 and older.
“Fresh fruit and vegetable are obviously very nutritious and something a lot of our clients, being low income, can’t afford and therefore don’t get enough of. So they are benefitting hugely from this service,” she said.
Contact the Brentwood Divas at 250-652-4625 to arrange picking and transport of the produce to the food bank.