South Islanders suffering the winter blues will be given a pick me up from the good folk of Whangārei in the form of tonnes of citrus fruit.

For the past five years the Citrus for the South campaign has been run by Whangārei's Lions Clubs, getting people in the district to drop off their excess citrus fruit to be taken to the South Island to be distributed to poor and needy people there.

The collection is on again this year, but is being run in conjunction with real estate company One Agency Whangārei.

One Agency Whangārei owner Gary Younger said he initially contacted Terry Ward, from Whangārei Lions, as he was worried an event he was planning may clash with the citrus drive. But Ward informed him they were struggling to get numbers for the citrus collection and it was in danger of not going ahead this year.

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So Younger joined forces with the Lions and the next citrus collection will be at The Marist Sports Club, on Kensington Ave, Whangārei, on July 26 from 8.30am to 2pm.

Lions Clubs are asking residents of Whangārei to check out their citrus trees, in particular sweet oranges and lemons, for fruit to send to the people of Christchurch and Dunedin, where the winter fruit does not grow. All other citrus - mandarins, limes, ugli, tangelo etc, will also be accepted.

Mainfreight in Whangārei has again agreed to pay for a shipment of banana boxes full of citrus from Whangārei to the South Island.

Freshly picked fruit may also be left at the One Agency office in Kensington Ave.

''If you do not have enough fruit to fill a box then please ask neighbours or friends to help support you and us. You can also use any bags to deliver the fruit to us at on July 26,'' Younger said.

''Please watch for the pesky bug that drills into citrus, and other fruits. You may notice a small drilled hole. Please do not give us these.''

The gifted fruit will be delivered to fruit and vege co-ops for distribution. There are now 30 distribution sites around Christchurch with 2300 or more active members. Some will go on to Dunedin for distribution.

Ward said the collections usually gathered about five tonnes of fruit to send south. He said keeping the different fruits separate would help with the packing.

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