Zachary Marks and brothers Kyle and Dainen McDaniel are not your typical
These three enterprising and caring young men have started the Junior
Garden Gleaners program that donates produce to those who would be without.
The idea for the program came about because of a cherry tree that produced
more fruit than they could eat. So, why not share with others? And so
was born the program.
They deliver fruit and vegetables to food closets that care for seniors,
homeless and the hungry. And according to Vickie Johannsen an appreciative
recipient, "It's wonderful. It's like Christmas. With the cost of
produce, all of us being on fixed incomes in the senior apartments that
I live in and the disabled, we don't have that luxury. We can't afford
And Sharon O'Donnell of the Auburn Interfaith Food Closet agrees. "It's
so important to the people that we serve, the families that we serve in
the area. Without the fresh fruit and vegetables, mainly we just have
to give them canned goods, packaged goods and it's so appreciated.
Jil McDaniel, mother of Kyle and Dainen says. "It's a simple philosophy
of giving back. And I would like to instill that in the kids and have
them grow with that and show that, besides taking they need to give.
Their "giving" attracted the attention of Kraft Foods, which
awarded them a grant and so did the 4-H program the trio grew up with.
June Stewart who is the 4-H representative for the area notes, "They
are such a positive example in our community, for our youth and I see
many other 4-Hers wanting to follow in their footsteps and create their
own community service program."
The trio credits the 4-H program as their inspiration for this project
and the Junior Garden Gleaners are hoping their idea catches on throughout
the rest of the state
and why not the whole country? As for their
parents, well, you can imagine their pride.
Vicki Marks says, "It makes me feel great and I'm delighted to know
that Lauren and Eleanor, my two daughters, will be coming up in the ranks
behind them. It's time we got some women involved in this"
All three Junior Garden Gleaners play in school sports, water polo or
football. And being recognized for their good work means they can actually
help more people.
Deborah Nagle from the Foothill Volunteer Center tells us, "We're
always hearing about the bad kids. We don't hear about the boys and girls
who really do something for their community." And, the community
is a better place thanks to the Junior Garden Gleaners.
For more information about Food Closet located at 2985 Richardson Boulevard,
Auburn, CA call 530-885-1921. To learn more about the 4-H Club, call 530-889-7387.