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Tree of Life Food Donation Project

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What is a tree of life? It is a divine product of nature’s bounty that sustains the environment, beautifies its surroundings, and stands tall and proud throughout the years. In the case of the Community Food Bank (CFB) sustainable donation initiative, Trees of Life, these same trees can live up to their stately moniker—lending life and nurturance to people in need.

Through this one-of-a-kind program, donors can purchase fruit trees that will be planted on the CFB property, 5259 W Cardinal Street, Homosassa, and harvested; trees bearing fruits to feed the more than 70,000 people served through CFB’s 60 plus partner agencies throughout Citrus, Hernando, and Sumter Counties.

“With significant property cleared at our Citrus headquarters and a garden being planted there, we wanted to plant trees that—beyond being sustainable gifts to the landscape—can nourish our clients,” explained Barbara Sprague, CEO/Executive Director of Community Food Bank. “We want to provide not only food donations but food that will nourish and sustain people’s bodies, just as these trees sustain the land. With that in mind, we have chosen to plant fruit trees.”

In making their tree selections, patrons can choose from lemon, apple, pear, peach, and avocado, with different prices assigned to each tree. “Our patrons can share the blessing of our trees with the community,” said Sprague.

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These patrons will be blessed in return, as the individuals, families, organizations, companies, etc., who purchase these trees can dedicate them in their own name or in the name of a person, a pet, or a company that they wish to honor.

“Regardless of who they choose to honor, their tree will be marked with a plaque, a certificate, and lifelong maintenance to preserve the beauty and usability of their gift,” said Sprague.

Furthermore, patrons can dedicate their trees to anyone they choose, living or deceased. “Typically, trees are dedicated in the memory of those who have passed away,” noted Sprague. “And while we certainly encourage people to plant their trees in the memory of deceased loved ones, we also encourage them to buy them in honor of weddings, graduations, pets, etc.”

“This is a tree of life,” she emphasized. “It can be planted in honor of life milestones.”

For those who would like to give more, patrons may purchase entire sections of trees to dedicate, and four founding Tree of Life Patrons will receive a large tree plaque that will be permanently placed at the front of the garden.

To learn more about or to purchase a tree from the Tree of Life program, visit https://feed352.org/trees/.

Hernando tree donors can rest assured that fruits harvested from the Trees of Life will benefit all CFB member agencies, including the eight food pantries and nonprofit agencies in Hernando County. And that, Sprague promises, is just the beginning.

“We are looking for office and warehouse space in Hernando,” she said. “We want to serve and feed more people in that county.”

Call 352-628-3663 to discuss opportunities to spread the love and the food here in Hernando—with a bit of help from CFB.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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