Early in the morning on a recent Saturday, the lawn at John Still Elementary in south Sacramento's Meadowview neighborhood is covered with tools.
About 45 volunteers load long poles with caged baskets, ladders, buckets and boxes into cars destined for homes in the nearby Pocket neighborhood, where citrus has grown unpicked.
Dominic Allamano is the coordinator for Harvest Sacramento. He cringes when he sees oranges or mandarins withering on trees.
"There might be a couple million pounds going to waste in the city," says Allamano.
Volunteer Megan Walsh says the trees are bending under the weight.
"The tree was so full and heavy that they've been splatting on the ground when we've been dropping a few," she says.
But, some trees are harder to pick than others. In the hot sun sweat gathers on Erika Fucarino's brow.
"This is not an easy tree to work with. Because there so high, so high this time. It's a real work out," she says.
Fucarino has been harvesting navel oranges from the top branches of a tree with her daughter and son.
A few hours later their labor pays off.
"That's about 50-60 pounds," she says as she dumps the fruit.
Coordinator Dominic Allamano tallies a wide array of fruit picked from about 15 trees.
"We've got grapefruits, three or four kinds of oranges, mandarins, tangerines. We might have some lemons coming back. We've got some giant Washington navel oranges," he says.
The total is a ton.
At the end of the morning low income families from Meadowview fill overflowing grocery bags with the day's harvest.
The next fruit gleaning will be in north Sacramento on March 21st.
Read stories from and listen to our documentary on food insecurity in south Sacramento, Hidden Hunger, part of CapRadio's multimedia series The View From Here.
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