Freeze hurts food bank's fruit collection - Tucson News Now

Freeze hurts food bank's fruit collection

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

We might be in warmer temperatures now, but one agency is still paying for last week's cold spell.

The community food bank typically sends out volunteers to pick fruit throughout the city, to in turn give to clients. But you won't see them out this year, after the cold killed the citrus.

Oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are harder to come by at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

"The freeze really destroyed probably 90 percent of that product so while it's still good for juicing it's not really good for people to eat," said Bill Carnegie, President/ CEO of Community Food Bank.

The food bank follows USDA guidelines which say fruit exposed to freeze can go bad quick.

"The product begins to rot so what we're trying to do is get it out as quickly as we can," he said. 

Volunteers will typically collect about 300,000 pounds of citrus to be included in food disbursements.

This year, citrus collection has been canceled.

Debbie Duggins is on a fixed income and looks forward to getting affordable fresh fruit this time of year.

"You get creative, you read the sales ads, and if you're lucky enough you have neighbors that have trees that we share," she said. 

The community food bank serves non profits that feed more than 200,000 people every month.

Now it's relying on a citrus shipment from Phoenix to beef up their bags of groceries.

"They didn't have the extreme temperatures there that we did here, so we expect our first truck load of citrus tomorrow which is only going to supplement what we're doing here."

Typically the food bank would do it's fruit collection in April as well, but that's been canceled too.

The food bank is still willing to take in fruit if you want to drop it off.

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