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Sharing fruits of their labour

A program devoted to ensuring unused fruit doesn't go to waste is back in operation.

The Penticton Fruit Tree Project is up and running, after taking the summer of 2013 off.

"Our goal is to harvest unused fruit from backyard trees and share it with community members in need," said coordinator Alisa Senecal.

Senecal said the project was introduced by Glory MacIntyre, a Penticton resident who noticed a lot of fruit was going to waste in the summer months.

It ran for a few years from 2010 to 2012, and took a hiatus last year.

Senecal was one of the members of a planning committee for the Okanagan Fruit Tree Project in Kelowna, so when she moved here in the fall of 2013, she brought it back.

"I decided to revive it as a chapter of the Okanagan Fruit Tree Project," she said.

Tree owners can register their fruit trees by calling a week in advance. A group of volunteers then picks the fruit and divides it up.

Homeowners get some, volunteers get some and then it goes to community organizations like the food bank, Soupateria, Unity House and the South Okanagan Women's in Need Society's transition house.

So far this season, they have picked around 800 pounds of fruit, mostly cherries and apricots, and donated 500 pounds from that.

In addition to needing the unused fruit, the program could use more volunteers and equipment such as ladders, stepladders and picking bags.

So far the effort has been very well received in the community, according to Senecal.

"It has been a success," she said. "And as long as there is fruit, we will be doing this."

People with extra fruit and equipment or just interested in volunteering, can call (250) 488-2376 or email [email protected]

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