Shauni James is a Rotorua Daily Post reporter

Fruit the focus for new community group

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Sue White is starting the Community Harvesting Rotorua group. Pictured with Olivia Macmillan, 2, and Flynn Huruhanganui, 3. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER
Sue White is starting the Community Harvesting Rotorua group. Pictured with Olivia Macmillan, 2, and Flynn Huruhanganui, 3. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER

Gathering spare fruit and distributing it to those in need is the focus of a new Rotorua volunteer group taking "baby steps" in getting up and running.

Co-ordinator Sue White said Community Fruit Harvesting would be focused on finding out who had fruit to spare and getting volunteers to pick it and give it out to those who needed it.

The fruit could be picked from people's backyards or orchards, she said.

She said none of the fruit would be sold for personal profit, and would either go towards helping charities raise money or groups who needed food.

Mrs White said there were a number of reasons she decided to start the group, including that she and her husband did not like to see fruit go to waste. She said it seemed like a resource which could be better used.

"It's something we could do in the community that wasn't happening at the moment."

Mrs White said she was also hoping to get in contact with Age Concern and look at the possibly of having excess fruit available for the elderly.

She recently visited the Presbyterian Church in Ngongotaha which had a food bank and gave basket of grapefruit marmalade she had made from about 10kg of grapefruit.

She said her group was part of a national organisation that started a few years ago in Auckland, and was "going great guns up there".

Mrs White said she was still taking baby steps and had linked up with the Food Network, an "amazing" group of people in Rotorua who were looking at all aspects of food, such as encouraging people to eat healthily.

She said she started putting the volunteer service together six weeks ago and was in the process of getting flyers sorted.

At the moment she was connecting with groups and getting networking done, "taking little steps to find out where we fit into the community".

Those interested in becoming a volunteer or who have spare fruit available can contact Sue White on (027) 460 3394 or email pickfruitrotorua@gmail.com.

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