Gleaning Abundance provides fruitful return for community

By Chad Klassen
August 30, 2016 - 2:16pm Updated: August 30, 2016 - 5:42pm

KAMLOOPS — Summer may be winding down, but many property owners in Kamloops still have fruit on their backyard trees. Some has already fallen off, the others are ripe to pick.

For residents who don't need or want the fruit on their trees, volunteers can pick it as part of the city's Gleaning Abundance program, which matches homeowners with fruit trees in need of picking with volunteers willing to help out. 

On Tuesday afternoon in Westsyde, a group of volunteers picked plums.

"Basically, homeowners call us and register their trees with the program," says Kevin Pankewich, harvest leader with the Gleaning Abundance program. "We then organize a group of volunteers to come and pick, and split it amongst the volunteers, the homeowners, and non-profits in Kamloops."

The program runs on the backs of volunteers like Glen Morris, who helped out for the first time. 

"I looked after a friend's peach tree, and I would go by and check on it and there would be so much on the ground that was starting to rot," says Morris. "It totally made me realize it's a waste. Then a friend, Marcia, posted an article on Facebook that talked about this project, and I thought 'hey, I got some time. I'm not working today, I can volunteer."

The same plums picked in Westsyde wind up at social agencies in town like the Kamloops Food Bank. It is one of many non-profits that benefit from this program. Since June, the Food Bank has received over a thousand pounds of fruit. 

For the volunteers, they get to bring fruit home as well, while the rest get distributed to various non-profit organizations.

"We always hear that these kinds of agencies need funding or goods, so for them to be able to take advantage of this and get all of this for free, it's really good for everyone. Win-win for sure," says Morris.

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