Carl Wunsch and his church group spent Saturday morning in Sun City picking oranges and grapefruits at two homes.
They were volunteering for St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance “Super Citrus Saturday,” collecting citrus fruits from trees in neighborhoods to fill food boxes in Arizona and other states.
“This is a great way for us to get out in the sun in beautiful weather, plus help feed people at the same time,” said Wunsch, a member of Reveal, a Vineyard Community Church, which meets at the Valley Vista High School Performing Arts Center.
Wunsch said it’s the third year in row the church group has picked citrus for the food bank. They will glean for the next few weeks on Saturdays and hope more members will join them.
Last year, the first Super Citrus Saturday event collected 20,000 pounds of citrus, for a total of 2 million pounds for the year.
Several groups from around the West Valley were involved in the gleaning of trees and delivering the fruit to a St. Mary’s dropoff location in Surprise.
Doris Knoke of Sun City called St. Mary’s and asked if they would glean her tree, and Wunsch’s group has spent the last two weekends at her home.
Knoke said she and her husband thought their grapefruits and oranges would go to waste if someone didn’t pick them.
“We’re just not that able anymore to pick them and what better thing to do than have the food bank glean the trees and give the fruit to people who need it,” said Knoke. “In my opinion, it’s so much better than it wasting and us having to throw it away.”
Dave Griffith, an El Mirage resident who attends Reveal, said he jumped at the chance to volunteer.
“It was the perfect opportunity to enjoy the awesome weather and a bonus to know I’m helping someone else,” he said. “I might be in the same situation one day.”
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