City Fruit’s Community Outreach VISTA is different than most other Harvest Against Hunger VISTA members because there is no direct relationship with the people who own the fruit trees, save for occasionally interacting with them at residential volunteer harvests.
City Fruit’s Harvest Manager is responsible for maintaining relationships with residential tree owners. The Harvest Mananger contacts tree owners at the beginning of the year to see if they want to keep their tree registered, schedules a time to harvest fruit, and thanks them for their donation to feed food-insecure Seattleites.
People or businesses who make financial donations or in-kind donations receive hand-written thank you notes, personal way of showing appreciation and creating stronger relationships with donors.
City Fruit has a growing Salesforce database used to track monetary donations, fundraising, pounds of produce harvested, where the gleaned produce was donated, and volunteer hours. This is equally helpful with planning volunteer events and tracking their hours as it is with maintaining up-to-date information on donors.
City Fruit promotes the cultivation of urban fruit in order to nourish people, build community and protect the climate. We help tree owners grow healthy fruit, provide assistance in harvesting and preserving fruit, promote the sharing of extra fruit, and work to protect urban fruit trees.
Our programs include harvesting unwanted fruit from private properties, stewarding and harvesting public orchards, training orchard stewards, and delivering the thousands of pounds of gleaned fruit to organizations who can distribute it to people who need it most: food banks, senior centers, homeless shelters, low-income housing programs, lunch programs, daycares and more.
In late 2013, City Fruit was chosen to take part in Harvest Against Hunger's (formerly Rotary First Harvest) Harvest VISTA program.This VISTA position deviated from the traditional Harvest VISTA as instead of working directly with farms or meal program recipients, the VISTA served as a Community Outreach Coordinator. Their achievements included building new relationships within the community to care for public orchards, speaking with people about City Fruit’s mission at community festivals and events, and building the volunteer base through various programs such as the Ambassador Program.
The VISTA also contributed to blogs, social media outlets, and volunteer newsletters, as well as used Salesforce and the Volunteers for Salesforce plugin to create volunteer opportunities, record hours and keep in contact with all volunteers.