SK woman starts 'fruit-cycle' effort

A retired South Kitsap nurse has launched a grassroots effort to gather unused fruit and vegetables from private land and donate it to local food banks, with the purpose of keeping it from rotting on the ground.

“People grow more fruit than they can eat,” said Olalla resident Doris Worland. “I see a lot of fruit lying on the ground and think there must be some use for it and that it will be of some use to someone.”

To this end, Worland is posting flyers with her name, number and message — donate the excess from gardens and fruit trees to keep people from going hungry.

She is soliciting volunteer help for the harvesting of the fruit and its transportation to local food banks.

Worland has even come up with an acronym for the effort — S.A.Y.S, short for “share all your surplus.”

Along with the flyer, Worland has assembled a list of 11 local food banks to which people can take their surplus.

The food banks don’t have the manpower or the resources to conduct the harvest and the transport but will welcome the contributions, according to South Kitsap Helpline operations coordinator Christina Eckley.

“This is a great idea,” she said. “We get several calls every year about this but don’t have the ability to pick up the fruit. If people come in and donate the fruit, we will gladly accept and distribute it.”

Eckley said since the food in question is on private land, there is no way to estimate quantity.

She said garden fruit that a landowner might perceive as inedible — like a sour apple — could be enjoyed by someone who cannot afford apples at all. And in those cases, adding sugar and placing apples in a pie makes the sourness go away.

Worland has already spoken to Helpline Executive Director Jennifer Hardison, who challenged Worland to start the effort.

“We don’t have the ability to go out and pick fruit,” Hardison said. “But if Doris can identify where the fruit is we can assemble a volunteer team to go out and do the work.”

Liability is one potential obstacle. For example, what if a volunteer worked in a harvest operation and sustained an injury in the process?

However, Hardison said that, “If a volunteer were to pass the background check and become ‘official’ with Helpline, he or she would be covered.”

Haridison said she “loves it when people come in and give us good ideas.”

“I don’t want to see this go to waste,” Worland said of the excess food. “I would like to see a way for it to get on someone’s table.”

To volunteer, contact the South Kitsap Helpline at (360) 876-4089 or call Worland directly, (253) 970-2047.

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