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Mormon pear orchard in Oregon donates to local food bank

By Richard Robertson

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, July 24 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

LDS Church members work at the Medford Oregon Pear Farm, which recently donated 25,000 pounds of pears to Rotary First Harvest for distribution to regional food banks.

Richard Robertson

MEDFORD, Ore. — Rotary First Harvest has distributed 25,000 pounds of pears, donated by the Medford Pear Orchard, a production project of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to regional food banks and pantries. The pears were taken from cold storage to make room for this year’s crop surplus.

After hearing that its usual supplier wouldn't be donating pears this year, “we were grateful to start coordination of the Bosc and Anjou pears,” said Tracy Goodrich, First Harvest executive director.

First Harvest, a non-profit function of Southern Oregon Rotary Clubs, focuses on generating, salvaging and distributing fresh, nutritious food that will never make it to the commercial market for various reasons. First Harvest works through the generosity of rotarians and other community partners working together to supplement food boxes. This is especially important for the 33 percent of recipients under 18 years of age.

The Medford Pear Orchard is one of 56 production projects of the LDS Church Welfare System. Pears from the Medford Pear Orchard are processed and canned in church canneries and send throughout the world to provide relief to needy families and humanitarian aid.

The Medford, Ore., orchard provides all the pears for the church welfare system. Most of the work performed on the farm is done by local volunteers, including the harvest of over 1.5 million pounds of pears a year.

Richard Robertson is on the Medford Oregon Stake's public affairs council.

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