Growing up in the Midwest, apple picking was always a long-anticipated ritual that signified the start of fall. Whether we headed to the backyard or a local orchard, we’d scoop up as many apples as possible and turn them into pies, applesauce, and apple crisp. Even as an adult, I still adore collecting fresh apples.
Sometimes, though, I end up with too many. If you’re flooded with quickly ripening fruit this season, why not do some apple picking for charity? You can donate fruit to a few community organizations and feel fabulous about sharing this healthy snack! One plentiful season I carted multiple boxes of apples home from my mother’s farm and left the overflow on the front porch. I was surprised when local trick-or-treaters asked if they could have some. Many, many candy baskets were filled with red, ripe apples that year. Here’s how you can start your fruitful journey.
Going On A Picking Spree
Do a quick Google search or use Pick Your Own to find the nearest apple farm, or just start a conversation with your circle of friends. Almost everyone knows someone who has an apple tree or two in their yard. Ask if you can come by and let your kids pick up the fallen and low-hanging fruit.
To get the fun started, have a contest to see who can hold the most apples in their cradled arms without dropping any. Younger children can practice their counting skills as the apples pile up. As a bonus, some orchards will offer a discount if you pick the fruit yourself or select the fallen apples. They may be lightly bruised, but they’re perfect for baking!
When you get home, spend time as a family in the kitchen. Make a batch of super simple applesauceor put together a decadent apple pie to share with Grandma. Apples can be turned into so many sweet treats including apple cinnamon bread, apple crisp, dried apple rings (for lunch boxes!), apple pancakes, and spiced apple cider.
Donate To Those In Need
Finally, share those apples! Both the fresh fruit and the baked goods will be welcome at several places in your community. Not everyone has access to fresh produce, and by helping provide picked apples, kids can learn the value of giving to others.
- Senior centers. Whether it’s a day respite program or a full-time nursing home, the residents would certainly enjoy delicious apples and a visit from your family. Contact the facility’s activities director to see if they have a fall festival or open house hours where you can make an appearance.
- Food banks. Local food collection sites generally advertise their need for nonperishable products, but many also accept fresh produce too. Call ahead to coordinate your drop-off with their pick-up cycles, so the recipients can get the freshest fruit possible.
- Homeless shelters. Donations are the heartbeat of shelter kitchens. Your fresh produce will be a welcome sight to both the chefs and guests at mealtime. If you have some flexibility in your schedule, offer to stay and help serve a meal, clean dishes, or prep the apples for a surprise dessert. Even young children can help clear tables!
- Nonprofit organizations. Check the local news to see if any charities are planning a fall event. Your apples might be the perfect addition to a caramel apple station at an autumn festival and can make great prizes for a children’s carnival fundraiser.
Are you going apple picking for charity this fall? Share a picture of your experience on Twitter, so we can see your kindness in action!
Image source: Angela Tague
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Why It’s Good
Indulging in one of the simple joys of the season with your family and giving back to the community is a win-win. As you plan your weekend trip to a local apple orchard, pick an extra bag or two of the fresh fruit to donate to a local charity. You'll be teaching your children about giving back and making healthier food choices all at once!