Holiday citrus sale to benefit United Way
By Jessica Creagan
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- Ruby red grapefruit and navel oranges are the colors and scents of the holiday season and thanks to generous citrus growers and packers, nonprofits from all over the county can benefit from citrus sales.
The 17th annual Holiday Citrus Sale is in full swing at the United Way of Indian River County and orders are coming in fast and furious as residents are eager to send the signature golden orbs to friends and family in colder parts of the U.S.
Orders can be placed Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Dec. 9 to Dec. 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. by calling or coming to the United Way Center on 14th Avenue in Vero Beach.
Rusty Banack of Quality Fruit Packers and Scott Lambeth of Golden River Fruit Company have once again spearheaded the sale by gathering donations from more than one dozen citrus growers and packing house distributers, thereby allowing United Way to reap the financial benefits of the sale to be used in charitable programs such as Meals on Wheels, United Way staff said.
"We are all aware of people in need in this community and are happy to join in and do our part," Mr. Banack said in a press release.
Faith Frazier, event spokeswoman, said 813 boxes of citrus were purchased last year during the holiday sale and she expects this year's numbers to top that.
"There was $25,000 raised from the sale last year. A lot of people like to ship the fruit. We send a lot to New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and a lot go out to New Jersey," Ms. Frazier said.
"It is just amazing what this sale does for us," she said.
United Way has a campaign goal of $2.55 million by March 2014 and the holiday sale is a substantial part of the total and couldn't be possible without the help of the growers and packers, Ms. Frazier said.
Among the programs assisted by the United Way through funds raised during the campaign are: Childcare Resources of Indian River, Dasie Hope Center, Literacy Services of Indian River County and Treasure Coast Food Bank.
Local growers and packers involved include: Fellsmere Farms, Green River Packing, Golden River Fruit Company, Hogan & Sons, IMG Citrus, Indian River Exchange Packers, LeRoy Smith, Oslo Citrus Growers Association, Premier Citrus Packers, The Packers of Indian River, Quality Fruit Packers of Indian River, Riverfront Groves, and United Indian River Packers.
"We can't thank our agricultural community enough," Ms. Frazier said.
For more information about the Holiday Citrus Sale, call (772) 567-8900 or visit www.unitedwayirc.org.