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Don't let your oranges go to waste. St. Mary's Food Bank wants your home-grown citrus

It’s citrus season, and many Valley residents may have more oranges or lemons than they know what to do with right now. But the state’s largest food bank  wants to make sure none of that fruit goes to waste

St. Mary’s Food Bank spokesperson Jerry Brown said right now, during these icy temperatures, is when a lot of people pick their backyard citrus, but can’t necessarily eat it all.

“If you picked it to avoid it getting damaged in any way and now need a place to put it, the food bank is an awesome place to make that donation,” Brown said. "You’ve taken care of that tree all year so it has a bountiful harvest. Make sure you can share that food with people who really need it.”

Brown said, in years past, the food bank has collected as much as 5 million pounds of home-grown citrus. That fruit has been distributed to hungry families in Arizona as well as neighboring states.

Bins for citrus donations are set up Monday through Friday at the food bank’s Phoenix and Surprise locations. St. Mary's will accept oranges, grapefruit, lemons or other citrus through the end of March.

The food bank will also host citrus donation events the first two Saturdays in February at Desert Garden United Church of Christ in Sun City West and Shepherd of the Hills United Church of Christ in Phoenix. 

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.