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Fruit picking charity needs neighbourhood co-ordinators

Fruit picking charity needs neighbourhood co-ordinators


Community Fruit Harvesting, a charity that picks unwanted fruit to provide food for hungry families, is looking for neighbourhood co-ordinators around Auckland to manage fruit picking in their area.

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 group has grown tremendously since I started it three years ago,” says Di Celliers. “The existing team of co-ordinators 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 co-ordinators to cover Auckland fully. We’re looking for co-ordinators that are reliable, responsible and passionate about helping others. ”

Co-ordinators can select the size of area they feel comfortable managing, from a few streets to several suburbs, depending on the time they have available. They need access to a phone and/or computer to field requests from fruit tree owners and arrange teams of volunteers to pick the fruit. Co-ordinators also require their own transport, as they will usually attend fruit picking to manage volunteers on site and help to deliver the fruit to charity. The busiest time of year is citrus season from late June to the end of September, where each co-ordinator may have up to three venues to pick per week.

“Even if you think you could only manage one tree a week or every second week, we’d like to hear from you,” says Di. “Every bit helps.”

Leigh Quadling-Miernik became a Community Fruit Harvesting co-ordinator for Devonport and Takapuna around two years ago as a way to give back to the community and stop the waste of fruit falling to the ground and rotting.

“I don’t have much money to give to charities but I can give time and work, so this is what I can do,” says Leigh. “Picking fruit is something I 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 apple, grapefruit or feijoa! It doesn’t take too much time, is outside and teaches them to be charitable.

“When it comes to food, people quickly turn to the easiest thing, be it processed food or fast food. Helping people to access fresh, natural food is worthwhile.”

As well as co-ordinators, Community Fruit Harvesting is also looking for more volunteers to pick and preserve fruit and for unwanted or surplus fruit to pick.

People interested in finding out more about becoming a local area Community Fruit Harvesting co-ordinator, volunteering or offering their fruit can email Di Celliers at pickfruit@xtra.co.nz or visit www.pickfruit.co.nz to register their interest.

-Ends-

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