Jim Todd drives by countless yards each day with citrus trees bursting with nutritious oranges, tangerines, lemons, and grapefruit.
And if things go as they usually do most of that citrus will end up falling to the ground in the coming six weeks before being tossed into garbage Toters.
Todd, who is in charge of Crossroad Grace Community’s outreach ministry, for the sixth years is using the church’s monthly 2nd Saturday undertaking to enlist volunteers from both the congregation and the rest of Manteca to harvest citrus trees in several dozen yards. Last year the effort generated 10 tons of citrus that was delivered to the Second Harvest Food Bank for distribution to needy families and elderly seniors on limited income that can’t afford fresh citrus.
The next gleaning effort is taking place this Saturday. And while they still need volunteers to help, Todd is hoping that those who have citrus trees in their yards and usually let the cirrus fall to the ground and
then toss it will instead harvest it and deliver it to one of 14 food banks in Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon.
The citrus gleaning effort has made a big difference for food banks during the past five years that are finding it tougher and tougher to meet the demand of struggling families.
Citrus harvesting volunteers are being asked — if they can —to bring any hand towels or car wash towels that they can donate for the project to help clean the fruit. Also if individuals can supply ladders six-foot and over and pickup truck beds to use for the day it would be appreciated.
For those who are willing to climb trees, it is suggested that they wear Levis, long sleeves or a sweatshirt since citrus trees do have thorns.
Those who haven’t volunteered previously need to go to www. crossroadsgrace.org, go to “outreach” and pull down to the “2nd Saturday” tab then click on the 2015 release form that can be filled in online.
Information on this Saturday’s gleaning effort through 2ndSaturday can be accessed at Crossroadsgrace.org/CitrusSaturday. Those planning to harvest citrus on their own from their own trees can go to Crossroadsgrace.org/pantry for a referral list of food panties where the gleaned citrus can be taken.
Participants for the 2nd Saturday harvest on Feb. 14 are asked to arrive for a briefing by 8:30 a.m. at the church at 1505 Moffat Boulevard between Woodward Avenue and Spreckels Avenue.
Teams will depart for work sites at 9 a.m. and will finish about noon or shortly thereafter.
Hundreds of church members – along with community volunteers who elect to help – set aside four hours the second Saturday of each month to do everything from helping the elderly with small home maintenance projects to helping maintain landscaping along the Tidewater Bikeway.