(PRESS RELEASE - SOUTH PLAINS FOOD BANK)
The Orchard at the South Plains Food Bank has diligently been a source of nutritious food for the hungry in the community for the past 17 years. However, this season may seethe first decline in the apple harvest due to an influx of apples and a decline in volunteers.
The South Plains Food Bank hosted a press event Wednesday asking for help from the public at the orchard.
The South Plains Food Bank Orchard is located at 5606 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Lubbock, TX 79404
The community volunteer day on Saturday, June 28th was a success, as the trees were thinned to make way for the harvest. Now that harvest time is here, the apples are ripening faster than crews can get to them. The fear is more apples will land on the ground instead of in hands ready to harvest them.
Debbie Cline, FarmManager for the South Plains Food Bank, says the rate at which the apples are changing colors, indicating they're harvest-ready, is becoming too big for them to handle. "In the past we have depended on the Montford Unit to send guys out to help us, but they have been pulling back, and we are facing a large harvest this year," Cline says, "We just don't have enough people to help us harvest and wash them. At this rate, we will be losing a lot of apples to the ground."
The Food Bank has seen a 17% increase in the amount of food boxes handed out this year to date. Averaging 1,082 boxes a week, they are in need of a solidharvest from the orchard this season. "Having these apples will help us with the increased need," the CEO David Weaver says. "We can't afford to lose them."
The food bank hopes to encourage the community to join the Apple Core, the name for any volunteer that helps at the orchard. The Food Bank is in need of any volunteers ages 16 and over to help when they can at the orchard. There are come and go opportunities from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 - 4 p.m. until the season is over.