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February 2, 2012

Oranges Galore!!!

Sacramento is known for many things: the capital of California, the gold rush, bridges, our railroad museum and of course orange trees! I am still relatively new to Sacramento, having transplanted from the east coast roughly one year ago, but every time I drive downtown, I am amazed how many orange trees line our city streets. Back east, we did not have that luxury of walking down the streets of Philadelphia and reaching up and grabbing a mid-afternoon orange, but here we do. Not only are the trees esthetically pleasing but their fruit it also quite satisfying and nourishing, if eaten.

My first 6 months of living in Sacramento I was a little shocked to see how many oranges would fall to the ground and go to waste. Moreover, I rode my bike around neighborhoods and would see lawns full of rotten oranges, and I kept thinking to myself, “I am sure someone would have wanted to eat those.” Well, being SFBFS’ Food Program Director, I actually know 10,000 people that would eat those perfectly ripe oranges, and the best part there is an organization that helps get the oranges to us so people can enjoy them.

During the winter months, teams of volunteers descend on Sacramento to help harvest as many orange trees as possible in order to donate to Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS). For the past eight weeks, we have been distributing 10 oranges, 3 days per week to over 200 households a day. And every weekend we receive even more oranges then the previous. In a city where people spend their time waiting in lines for food there should not be a single orange rotting on the ground. More people than ever are depending on SFBFS, and at the same time, more people than ever are coming together and making sure people are fed, even if it is just a few oranges.

The winter months may bring the cold and rain, but it also brings a wonderful bounty of oranges. One thing is for certain, after one full year of living in Sacramento, I know there are a few less oranges wasting away on the ground. For that, I thank the people of Sacramento and feel reassured to know we are distributing the food of our city to the people who need it the most. Enjoy your orange!

Submitted by Erik Kintzel, Food Program Director

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