It has been almost three months since I began my current position as Coordinator of Fruit Share Brandon. I have enjoyed every aspect of my job and I’m continually amazed by what we’ve been able to accomplish in our first year of operations. This past month has been incredibly busy and I fear that I have let my blog posts slip by the wayside in the wake of pails of saskatoons, strawberries, and cherries! As an apology, I want to share with you a bit of an update with our progress so far this summer!
It’s been exciting to watch as our organization has slowly grown and spread it’s message throughout our community. With the help of local and social media we have been able to share our mission as well as our goal to save as much local, prairie produce as possible. To date, we have 66 registered volunteers, who are eager to harvest and help provide for those in need. Not only have our volunteers been invaluable when out picking and delivering donations, but also in advertising and supporting Fruit Share at our public events. We have completed 22 harvests, which has garnered us a whopping 1,535 lbs. of fruit! While a portion of our harvest has gone back to the owners and to our hard-working volunteers, a large percentage has been donated to charitable organizations throughout the city. We continue to look for ways to extend our reach and have been happy to add new groups to our donation list. Fruit from our picks is currently being distributed to the following recipients: Helping Hands Soup Kitchen, Samaritan House (Food Bank), 7th Street Access Center, Salvation Army, Meredith House (YWCA), Prairie Oasis Senior Center, Teen Challenge, and Elspeth Reid Family Resource Center. Just today we made a new connection and will now be partnering with The Women’s Resource Centre in Brandon! We have dropped off donations in the form of raw fruit as well as home-baked pies, tarts, and muffins.
Recently we were asked into the Westman Communications Group Television studio to do a short interview. I was able to discuss what our main goals are and how volunteers and fruit owners can register. It was a wonderful opportunity to share with a larger audience as well as make friends at the TV station! When we had a workshop with the Brandon Community Garden Network last week, they were more than happy to come out and film our discussion. Having our workshop shared with over 20,000 viewers in the Brandon area is more than we could have hoped for! Along with our continued attendance at the Brandon Global Market and Wednesdays by the Fountain in Princess Park, we were recently at the Summer Multicultural Festival and the Brandon Folk Festival. These public events have provided wonderful insight into how the public perceives us and the feedback has been so positive and encouraging.
As we enter our apple-picking season I know that things are not about to slow down for Fruit Share. I’m hoping to still get my hands on grapes, chokecherries, and perhaps a few lingering raspberries as well. I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to everyone who has helped us off to such a fantastic start. To each donor, volunteer, fruit owner, and considerate person who told us what a good job we’re doing. THANK YOU! Your support means our success- all to the benefit of those who need our help most.