Daily Point of Light # 2359 Feb 18, 2003

To make a difference in this world, you just need a good idea and someone to carry it out. Two teen-agers from Newcastle came up with a good idea and have been carrying it out for the last three years.

The 4-H Junior Gleaners are high school students. Kyle and Dainen McDaniel are brothers who attend Del Oro High in Loomis, California. They helped start this project nearly three years ago using the theme, “Grow a Row to Donate.” They have been gathering extra fruit and vegetables from residents and orchards throughout the South Placer area for three years now.

The idea to start the program came when Kyle and Danien, who live in Newcastle, California, had too much fruit from their own cherry tree for their family. With a desire to share, they gathered the extra fruit and delivered it to an elderly center. That sparked the idea to begin a project on a much larger scale. The young men, who were already members of the Placer County 4-H, talked it over with June Stewart, the 4-H program representative and they began developing a full-blown project.

They have been instrumental in saving food and giving it to those who need it. Their goal of providing fruits and vegetables to those who otherwise might not have what they need in their diets has been very successful. To date, the teens have collected and distributed well in excess of seven tons of surplus food They have also recently put up information on their own website at http://jrgardengleaners.tripod.com, and they are working with other 4-H groups around the country to take the idea nationwide.

A recent study put out by the University of Los Angeles, (UCLA) shows that in the greater Sacramento Region that includes Sacramento, Placer, and Yolo counties more than 58,000 people have trouble putting food on the table daily and over 22,000 of those are actually hungry. Kyle says that educating people to understand that they do not need to have an orchard or a farm to donate surplus fruit and vegetables has been one of their biggest chores. They need only to have people call them who have an extra bag of mandarins, lemons or oranges or persimmons to donate.

It may not seem like a lot, but to those who never have these fresh items it means a great deal to their health. They pick them up and deliver them to a proper place. They hope that as people begin to plant their gardens next spring they will remember “Growing a Row to Donate.” They will come and harvest it for them when it is ready and deliver it to people who need it.