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Produce for Polio now Produce for COVID-19
By Dr. Jeffrey Hall, President of La Mesa Sunrise Rotary
April 19, 2020 (La Mesa) --  Over the years, members of the La Mesa Sunrise Rotary Club have brought fruits and vegetables from their own gardens to the meetings. Members would take the fruit and give a donation to the club foundation for the eradication of polio. Today, the climate has changed. We are no longer able to meet together, and the health crisis has come home to us in the manor of COVID-19. 
How can fresh produce make a difference?
Members of the club have stepped up, as pictured below. On Thursday, April 16 (as an early Rotarians At Work effort) the group harvested over 500 pounds of oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons and limes from members’ gardens and donated the fruit to several locations including: the Santee Food Bank, La Mesa 1st Methodist Church’s Fresh Start program, Noah Homes, Homeless Encampment, the East County Transitional Living, the Bradley Convalescent Home, and La Mesa Senior Citizens.

They encourage other Rotary clubs, and people, to do likewise. People learn from example.
Club President Jeff Hall reminisces, “When Fern and I put a basket of oranges out in front of our house with a sign that said, ‘Fresh-take one,’ other neighbors started to do the same.  People walking by thanked us, some left notes, and one lady took a picture of our little free fruit stand and said she is sending the picture back home to Germany.”
What can a piece of fresh fruit do?
Besides tasting good and filling some nutritional needs, it “builds goodwill, and better friendships, and is beneficial to all concerned.”  No, we can’t be physically together, but we can reach out to our neighbors and friend in many other ways such as this. We are reminded of a saying from Boy Scouts, “Do a good deed daily.”
So, reach out to your neighbors and friends who are home alone, make a phone call, text, email or send a home-grown sweet orange. Just reach out and do your part to help in whatever way you can, whether it be big or small.

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