The Siesta Key Kiwanis Club is preparing for another year of turning backyard citrus into a foodstuff for those in need.
The annual fruit-gleaning project collects fruits from homes on Siesta Key for donation to the All Faiths Food Bank. Based on last year’s success, the Kiwanis Club plans to expand the duration and coverage area of the upcoming season’s harvest, which is expected to begin in January.
“We want to avoid any fruit being wasted that could be used by people in our neighborhoods who need it,” said Bill Irish, member of the Siesta Key Kiwanis at an October Siesta Key Association meeting. “We expect our best year yet.”
The fruit-gleaning project serves the dual purpose of relieving homeowners (especially the elderly) of the hassle of harvesting their trees at no charge, while also providing a valuable food resource for struggling families.
Irish said the project’s expansion was in response to requests from All Faiths for more donated food. Many area families are still feeling the effects of the Great Recession, Irish said, and area food banks report the demand for donations is still high.
Irish said last year was successful, with 3,400 pounds of citrus collected in one weekend — 2,400 pounds of which were collected in a single day.
“The goal for this year is 12,000 pounds,” Irish said.
Irish also said the upcoming harvest season has been expanded from a two-week window to several months, and the project will now include Gulf Gate and Palmer Ranch communities, increasing the number of donor trees. The longer timeline and expanded coverage area should result in a record haul, Irish said.
Irish singled out the Pine View Key Club as an integral partner in the fruit-gleaning project, praising the group’s enthusiasm and reliable participation.
The Siesta Key Kiwanis Club is now taking online applications for volunteers to join the fruit-gleaning crews, as well as homeowners who want to register their trees for harvest.
Interested residents can call 254-1944 or visit www.Glean4AFFB.com for more information.
Contact Nolan Peterson at [email protected]