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A Day In The Activities Of Harvest CROPS And Why We Do It

Apr 01, 2017 07:41PM ● By Linda Heath

A Day In The Activities Of Harvest CROPS And Why We Do It. With Help, A Large Collection or "Pick" of over 50 Orange trees,Some Lemon, Blood Orange And Grapefruit Trees Was Carried Out in Jamul.

It was a beautiful sunny day in Jamul and we were on the way to do a large pick on a lovely residential property.  The grounds were covered with many fruit trees brimming with fruit.  The sweet smell of orange blossoms was in the air and a happy group of 15 volunteers set about picking the lovely fruit.

The volunteers come from many places in Southern California and are varied in age from Children through Seniors and sign up for picks which are close to them or wherever they choose to participate.  They are provided with all equipment necessary for the job, collection poles with baskets, gloves, safety glasses, clippers if needed, the buckets and are covered by Insurance while they pick.

The fruit is collected into 5 gallon buckets and each of those is loaded into carrying crates that holds two buckets of fruit.  

The collection will be delivered to a Food pantry, Church, Food Distribution location, School program or Food Recovery Organization.  It will feed those that are low income, food insecure, homeless or any other individual or family that is in need.

Sergio Padilla created Harvest CROPS in Lemon Grove, California in 2001.  Having suffered a spinal injury which resulted in surgery, boredom became his challenge.  The results became a notebook entitled Harvest CROPS "Community Residents Offering Produces Seasonally"  A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Generations of Actions, implemented Harvest CROPS, with immediate success.  Unfortunately in 2006, Generations of Actions dissolved.  The idea was shelved.

In 2009, Sergio realized an opportunity when his eldest son attended St. John of the Cross youth.  Youth Director Steve Browne agreed to a collaboration.  Sergio requested volunteers while Steve encouraged the youth.  Lori Avalos, a committed leader served as a valuable volunteer.   The youth picked nearly 5,000 pounds during the first year.   In 2010, they doubled.  Now the public volunteers, harvesting thousands of pounds of fresh residential fruit.   Fruit that would otherwise drop-and-rot is now donated to limited-income families and seniors.  St. John of the Cross Youth Group, under Steve Browne, empowered Harvest CROPS in becoming successful.  

In late 2010 Sergio suffered a serious setback, resulting again in back surgery.  During his recovery, volunteers took command, running Harvest CROPS.  Diagnosed with Chronic Pain Syndrome, Sergio is limited with his physical challenges as a Field Harvester Coordinator.  He retired from the San Diego Sheriff Department in 2014.   

In 2015 Abdon Padilla (Sergio's son) with support of friends and relatives incorporate Harvest CROPS as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  Continuing the service of feeding limited income families and senior with fresh residential fruit, Harvest CROPS operates under a board of directors.  .

Harvest CROPS now serves the County of San Diego with the support and enthusiasm of volunteers and donors.   Volunteer Karen Clay, current Chairperson, brings direction, determination and vision, much needed qualities.  She immediately started the board, attracting talented and experienced community leaders.  All volunteer in their leisure time.  Under the guidance and planning of the board, Harvest CROPS campaigns to receive financial and equipment support from several businesses and individuals.  A service to our immediate community, we are grateful to receive the recognition and attention well deserved, providing free fresh residential fruit.    

The potential of Harvest CROPS reaches new frontiers, as we are simply scratching the surface, about one percent, of what is to be offered.  Traveling north to Vista, all the way south, Imperial Beach, Harvest CROPS responses to residents who wish their fruit to be picked and donated for a great cause.  As a nonprofit organization, our goal is to provide an alternative: Allow us to pick your residential fruit.  Don’t let the fruit drop and rot.  A simple phone call, email, text message or webpage E-form makes Harvest CROPS possible.    

Harvest CROPS is a quadruple win-win service.  Limited-income families and seniors receive the donated fruit.  Residents are happy to know their fruit is donated, receiving a tax-deduction receipt and immediate grounds cleanup when finished.  Volunteers benefit with life-experience participation in helping, receiving community-hour credits upon request.  Finally, businesses enjoy a tax-deduction with any support provided towards our mission statement: To harvest residential fruit with volunteers for the benefit of unfortunate people.   

Last year, 2016, Harvest CROPS has picked over 63,000 pounds of fruit more than doubling 2015's total of 31,000.  In 2017 we have already collected over 30,000 pounds.

Now the community requests for residential harvesters.   Each year new residents are added and scheduled.  Harvest CROPS thanks everyone for their residential fruit donations.  Please go to the website and volunteer either to help with picking the fruit or to register your tree or trees to be picked.

We also are in need of volunteers with trucks and trailers to transport the fruit, and monetary donations to support with supplies, insurance, picking equipment and many other uses. 

Our Mission is to To harvest residential fruit with volunteers, for the benefit of less fortunate people.  Please give us permission to fulfill our Mission.

Linda Heath, Executive Manager, Senior Reporter


Harvest Crops The Group Gets Started

Harvest Crops - Our Picking Days Work

Harvest Crops Overview of Property

Harvest Crops Pretty Flowers

Harvest Crops Olive Trees

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