Giving Fruits helps feed thousands at women's shelters, care facilities with healthy eating

"The profit that we make each sale, we turn around and buy extra produce from the farmers, and we donate them to the shelters, the care homes, the frontliners."
PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- It started as a way to thank frontline workers with meals as the COVID-19 pandemic started.

Now, Giving Fruits has become a thriving program that supports produce donations to women's shelters, care facilities and many others. It's one example of the fast-changing economy, a pillar of Building A Better Bay Area. It shows us how eating healthy can help others in need to do the same.

Workers have been in the fields harvesting for two days at Oya Organic Farms to fill orders.

RELATED: 83-year-old immigrant, Bay Area McDonald's entrepreneur donates millions of PPE to frontline workers

"We did radishes, butter lettuce, little trim lettuce, turnips, carrots, herbs and the first strawberries of the season," said owner and farmer Marsha Habib.

The produce is headed to Palo Alto where customers will be picking up those fruits and vegetables in support of a year-long effort during the pandemic.

The program Giving Fruits has provided produce donations to frontline workers and to people in need after losing their jobs or from sheltering at home.

RELATED: East Bay girl entrepreneurs make 3D-printed mask strap adapters for front line workers

"The profit that we make each sale, we turn around and buy extra produce from the farmers, and we donate them to the shelters, the care homes, the frontliners," said GivingFruits.org founder Maria Gregorio.

A Stanford IT manager, Gregorio mobilized an army of high school students, including two sons who take orders, sort the produce and handle the pickups. Several of the farms are women-owned, promoting healthier eating.

"A lot of times the donated food can be canned goods or pantry goods that are just not fresh," said Oya Organic Farms' Marsha Habib. "But getting fresh produce, especially organic produce, is probably very helpful."

RELATED: San Francisco gives back to farm workers in honor of Cesar Chavez Day

With demand and need showing no signs of slowing, the Giving Fruits program will continue. Pickups are in Palo Alto and will be happening more frequently in sync with the growing season.

To learn what produce is available and how to order, click here.

Take a look at all of ABC7's Building a Better Bay Area stories and videos here.


Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.