Dave Lieberman likes oranges and lemons, but the amount of fruit that the trees in the back yard of his Redbridge home produce is too much of a good thing.
On Saturday he welcomed the youth groups from the Tracy Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in his yard and let them pick as much fruit as they could. It didn’t take long for them to clear the two trees.
The church then took several crates of oranges and lemons to Tracy Interfaith Ministries, the local food bank that helps feed families in need.
All it took to arrange the donation was a note from his neighbor, Ron Pepperman, a member of the local LDS Church, which is also one of Tracy Interfaith Ministries’ 22 member churches.
“He left a note on the back gate, and it struck a chord,” Lieberman said. “We’ve had this tree bearing all of this fruit and we can’t use it. How many oranges can you eat in a lifetime? It’s just a fantastic concept, and it’s good for the tree.”
Lieberman said that the oranges are good for juicing, as are lemons.
“The lemon tree is really the gem. They’re Meyer lemons and a little on the sweet side. I’m offering lemons. They commented that the oranges are more useful, so God bless them,” he said.
Joe Coffey, one of the youth group leaders at the church, scheduled two shifts of pickers. Within the first hour he and two adult leaders and three girls had nearly cleared the orange tree, and he expected that a group of boys scheduled for later in the morning would clear the lemon tree.
Meanwhile, he expects that Pepperman will find more back yards with more fruit trees.
“We may be doing this for the next few weeks,” Coffey said.
Pepperman said on Monday that he is trying to connect people with fruit trees with the local charity.
“I would love to find those individuals. I’ve got people out looking right now,” Pepperman said. “With the kids out of school we have more time in the afternoons and evenings to make this happen.”
Pepperman said he has had flyers printed up with his phone number, (408) 685-8385, listed, and plans to get those flyers out to people who would welcome folks from his church, or any local church, to pick fruit for the local food bank.