Freshly picked apples are flowing into Williams Lake for people in need thanks to the efforts of the Williams Lake Elks Club.
This will be the 10th year that the lakecity Elks have been part of the Prince George Elks Apple Tree Legacy project, says Arnie Zimmerman.
This being the tenth year of the program Zimmerman says the three participating Osoyoos apple growers Ken and Mel Thibault at Casa del Mell Orchard, Joe and Louisa Carvello orchardists and Joe and Vera Hilario of Lighthouse Orchards donated a whopping 20,520 pounds of apples for the program.
The apples were delivered Sept. 27 to the St. Vincent de Paul Drop-in Centre in Prince George for distribution to people in need visiting the drop-in centre and to help fill food bank hampers in that community.
The Elks paid the cost of having Clark Freightways deliver the apples to Prince George.
Then with volunteer help from various Elks Lodges in the region about half of the donated apples were then delivered to Williams Lake, Mackenzie, McBride, Quesnel, Vanderhoof, Burns Lake, Fort St. James, Valemount and this year also to Houston for distribution to families in need through various community agencies and food banks, Zimmerman says.
Each year the donated fruit is distributed to people in need through more than 30 different agencies in the region.
“Thanks to the tremendous generosity of these orchard growers apples are provided to hundreds of families who would not be able to afford the luxury of such fresh fruit,” Zimmerman says.
Last year he says 16,000 pounds of apples were donated and distributed through the program.
This year’s donation of 20,520 pounds of apples brings the total to more than 90,000 pounds of apples donated during the past 10 years.
At today’s fruit prices Zimmerman says this is a value of more than $150,000.
In order to expand the program to even more central interior communities in the future, Zimmerman says the Casa del Mel Orchard, St. Vincent de Paul Society and Prince George Elks Lodge 122 are raising funds this year to plant 600 new apple trees for the program.
The program is seeking donations of $25 to help with this project.
People who make donations will have their names entered into a draw to win a three-day weekend getaway to the Casa de Mell Orchard suite in Osoyoos, a value of $350.
For details check out www.casadelmell@.ca.
“Your contribution of $25 can be a great gift in the name of that someone who has everything or a child who can have a connection to helping people in need,” Zimmerman says. “It can be a unique gift to purchase in the name of a relative or friend with a gift card in their name to leave a legacy of goodwill to all the families who cannot afford to buy fresh fruit.”
For details on the Prince George Elks Apple Tree Legacy Project fund call 250-564-6336 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Laurie Meier is the project chair.