Group collects excess backyard fruit for food bank

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SARASOTA - If you own a fruit tree, you know there are certain times of year that the amount of produce can be overwhelming. But instead of throwing it away or letting it rot on the ground, there's a program where you can donate it to those in need in our community.

All Faiths Food Bank prides itself on being able to get fresh fruit and vegetables to the needy in our community. However, their supplies can sometimes run out pretty quick.

So if you have excess fruit that would go to waste in your yard, the Siesta Key Kiwanis Club is offering to take care of it for you, and donate it to All Faiths so it can get into the hands of those who need it most.

“You used to say ‘oh, you can give out a basket of fruit to this neighbor, that neighbor’, and pretty soon everybody is like overwhelmed with oranges and grapefruits ‘cause it’s like all ripe at the same time,” says fruit share organizer Fred Scheerle.

And leaving the fallen fruit to rot in your yard can attract unwanted visitors. “The rodents, yeah, they like to you know go down and get the rotting fruit. And you know that doesn't help out, you don't want that lying in your backyard.”

So members of the Siesta Key Kiwanis Club and Transition Venice are teaming up to take your unwanted excess fruit. “It's obviously a lot better to give that out to their participants or people in need. Obviously fresh fruit is a lot better than canned items and things like that.”

So crews of volunteers through those organizations will come to your house to either glean the fruit from your trees or pick up bags of fruit, taking it straight to the food bank -- which is in desperate need daily of these fresh items. “The produce comes in this morning, I was here looking at it…it was stacked over my head. And you can see right now the shelves are empty,” says food bank executive director Sandra Frank.

Last year, Kiwanas Club members harvested 2,400 pounds of fruit. They are shooting to collect 25,000 pounds this year.

Crews can harvest your fruit by appointment and transport it to All Faiths Food Bank. For more information, call (941) 404-8094 or send an email to