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City Heights Neighbors Share Their Backyard Bounty During The Pandemic
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Photo by Nicholas McVicker
As temperatures heat up, backyard gardens are filling up with fruit and vegetables.
Now, a group of business owners and community members in City Heights are making sure that these backyard bounties find their way to those who need it most during the coronavirus pandemic.
The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association has organized a weekly fruit swap, where neighbors can drop off their fruit, and those in need during the pandemic can walk, drive, or bike to pick it up.
“During this pandemic, when people have a much greater need, we think that one very simple approach to that would give them free food, free fruit, growing in people’s yards,” said Beryl Forman, who works for the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association and helps organize the swap. “It’s something that people offer, give back to the community, very well-received as well.”
From 10 a.m. to noon, neighbors are invited to drop off food to be repackaged into separate bags for pickup. From noon until 2 p.m., those in need can come to pick up fruits.
Edward Haidar is the owner of Mama’s Bakery in North Park. He says his restaurant is operating at 30% of capacity right now, so he has found time to volunteer in the community. He’s been going up to the north county to source fruit for the swap.
“I went to Escondido, picked up some avocados, lemons last week, some oranges. This week, I got some onions, carrots, avocados, lemons,” Haidar told KPBS. “It’s a good feeling. I don’t mind getting involved any time of day when it’s something like this. I get called for, I’ll step right up to the plate and deliver.”
Beverly, who declined to give her last name, found out about the swap online this morning. She came by to pick up lemons, oranges, and cactus.
“I’ve never [had cactus] but I’m gonna learn to cook it,” she told KPBS.
The fruit swap takes place every Wednesday at the Fair@44 on 44th Street and El Cajon Boulevard.
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