Nashdale flower-grower Chris May volunteers in Sydney for the St Vincent de Paul's overnight food van service, handing out sandwiches, tea, coffee, and fruit to those in desperate need on the harbour city's streets.
However, the fruit wasn't quite up to scratch in his eyes, in worse condition than apples he had sitting on his trees at Mayfarm Flowers on Cargo Road - apples that were out of shape after hail damage in January and withered by 12 months of drought.
While still delicious, the fruit wasn't fit for sale, so Mr May decided he wanted to donate them to the food van ... but there was one small problem.
Mr May was unable to dedicate the time to picking them himself and couldn't afford to bring in pickers to clear them properly, so he, with some help from his daughter Lucia, put a call-out on social media for volunteers to come down on Easter Monday and pick the fruit, with a chance to nab some free apples for their efforts.
About 70 people gave up their Easter Monday and turned up to help pick fruit in the Mays' orchard, which Ms May said was "just wonderful".
The family did the maths on the 130 crates which were driven to Sydney, and we "pretty stoked" to have picked enough to last Vinnies for about 10 weeks.
We didn't know there was a night van in Orange, and one of the women who volunteer for it came out so dad's been liaising with her and she's planning to bring a few people out to pick later on [next month].Lucia May
After an incredibly difficult summer facing the wrath of nature, the family made one of their favourite sayings come to life by "turning adversity into opportunity", with the inability to do anything with the orchard's haul for the year becoming fresh food for some of the state's most vulnerable.
Ms May also said it was just as important considering the food van has run out of fruit at the end of some runs, and fresh fruit the main attraction for many people using the van.
The volunteers didn't walk away empty handed, picking up a crate of apples of their own for their troubles, which the Mays said was the least they could do for those giving up their time - and in some cases weekends, with about half of the 70 volunteers coming from Sydney to pick the fruit, and Ms May mentioning quite a few of them stayed a couple of nights.
However, there's still plenty of fruit left on the trees, and with one of the volunteers who came to pick the fruit works with the equivalent program in Orange, asking if there was any chance the local program could have some as well - which the Mays have jumped at.
"We didn't know there was a night van in Orange, and one of the women who volunteer for it came out so dad's been liaising with her and she's planning to bring a few people out to pick later on [next month]," Mrs May said.
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