Senior Gleaners of San Diego County

Retirees Seek Fruit Donors and Volunteers

WHAT’S A GLEANER? For centuries, gleaners have collected food that would otherwise be wasted to feed the hungry. The term originates from the practice of landowners leaving portions of their fields or crops for the poor to harvest to feed their families.

Gleaners help pick fruit

Volunteers picking fruit at a small orchard

The Senior Gleaners of San Diego County need fresh fruit donations and volunteers to feed hungry county residents.  Donating fruit saves residents the work of picking and disposing of extra fruit. Donors receive a receipt for tax deduction purposes.

Since 1992, Senior Gleaners volunteers aged 55 or more have gleaned tons of produce annually throughout the county. Besides gleaning produce, the group daily collects unsold products donated by grocers. All the food is provided at no cost to the San Diego Food Bank and similar organizations.

Along with donations of produce, the organization needs volunteers to assist with picking, collection and transportation. Most Gleaners volunteer 3-4 hours one day per week, but there are no required minimum commitments.

gleaners help you pick fruit

Senior gleaners helped the homeowner (right) with her backyard trees

Last year San Diego gleaners distributed nearly 252 tons of food, according to Gleaner Board President Monte Turner. “However, in our county alone, at least 500,000 tons of food is wasted annually, adding 18 percent to landfill volumes, while 500,000 people live in poverty,” he said.

“Rather than compost edible food or dump it in landfills, it makes more sense to support groups like gleaners that will get the food to people who need it,” Turner said.

Turner noted that groups listed on the Website work with various donors with all sizes of orchards:  homes with only a couple of backyard trees, small orchards, and farmers with hundreds of trees.

To schedule a crew of Senior Gleaners:
Call 619-633-9180 or e-mail them at

Learn more at

Other local gleaners: