Arizona Food Banks Accept Citrus Donations, But You'll Have to Pick It

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Okay, we all vowed to shed a few pounds in 2013, that's a given, but if one of your resolutions involved being a stand-up citizen and doing something good for your fellow man, here's an easy, feel-good contribution: Pick the citrus you won't and cannot possibly use from your trees (you know, the bags-full you haven't already foisted upon every family member, friend, and neighbor for miles around) and take it to one of Arizona's food banks.

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As is always the case this time of year, our food banks are desperate for donations and your unwanted citrus would help supplement food boxes with fresh, healthy fruit. There is one little catch though. In the past, food bank volunteers could often pick your fruit for you, but they can't do that this year, and here's why:

Arizona citrus is under USDA quarantine for Sweet Orange Scab, a fungal disease that affects the appearance of citrus, but in no way affects its taste or nutritional value. Citrus affected by Sweet Orange Scab is perfectly safe to eat, but it simply can't be sent across state lines to be shared with other food banks. And for whatever reason, the quarantine also prohibits food banks from gleaning the citrus themselves from your property.

So it's all up to you: pick the fruit and get it to one of our local food banks. Here are a few numbers to call:

Desert Mission Food Bank, North Phoenix: 602-870-6062 or visit www.jcl.com/foodbank St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance, Phoenix and Flagstaff: 602-343-5658 or visit https://firstfoodbank.wufoo.com/forms/citrus-2013-web-registration-form United Food Bank, Mesa and East Valley: 480-926-4897 or visit http://unitedfoodbank.org/get-involved/citrus-gleaning

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