Glean for the City

You may have heard it first in the Washington Post, but we’re pleased to officially announce here that our Glean for the City program is expanding — into the city.

That’s right: Glean for the City is now planning to forage from fruit trees growing right here in the DC area.

This is a logical next step in our Nutrition Initiative, which recently hit a new peak when we pledged to give all food pantry clients the choice to receive all-fresh produce (no canned fruits and veggies, if all you want is the fresh stuff). In order to meet this challenge, we’re looking for more sites from which to get fresh fruits and vegetables!

And fortunately, we’ve got plenty of fruit right here in our back yards.

Fruit: it's out there.

Hundreds (even thousands?) of trees in the DC metro area grow edible fruit, and many yield more than a family can possibly eat themselves. Some trees don’t get harvested at all! This results in a lot of unnecessary waste — a lot of rotting fruit on the ground — all of which could be rescued and provided, through our pantry, as a bounty for our clients in need.

For this initial pilot project, we’re specifically targeting apple and pear trees. We’ll identify clusters of trees, then help volunteers organize to harvest from them, ensuring that this fresh city fruit ends up in the kitchens of our city’s hungry families.

We can’t make this happen without your help.

If you own an apple or pear tree in DC or an inner suburb, and if it grows more fruit than you use, we want to hear from you. Please fill out this form to indicate your interest. Also indicate whether you know of anyone else in your neighborhood who might be interested in donating their apples and pears. Bread for the City will get in touch with you, and send our volunteers to your property to pick the fruit come harvest time. The more neighbors that get involved, the more fun it will be to be a part of a harvest party in the fall!

And if you’d like to volunteer, there are many opportunities to scout trees, conduct site visits, organize neighborhood harvest parties, and of course, pick the fruit and deliver it to Bread for the City.

If any of this sounds exciting  to you, please contact Tonya Hamilton, BFC’s gleaning coordinator at

Meanwhile: these gleaning programs are made possible by the generous support of our donors, so please contribute here to support our continued expansion of these innovative programs.

Thank you!