Maria Gregorio | Giving Fruits
When the pandemic forced the Bay Area into lockdown, Maria Gregorio wanted to help. With restaurants closed, local farmers lost business from their biggest buyers, so many were killing off crops they couldn’t afford to tend. At the same time, others in her community were battling COVID-19 on the front lines, working long hours with short breaks. So she got creative and started a WhatsApp group to source produce orders for her community. With bulk ordering, Maria coordinated the sale of 300 boxes of cherries to support local farmers and used a portion of the sales to fund over 200 nutritious meals for frontline workers. She and her son then organized a contactless pickup system in a library parking lot to safely deliver fruit to hundreds of families.
As interest in the farm-to-parking-lot produce grew, Maria started the Giving Fruits Facebook group connecting hundreds in her local community to share upcoming produce availability, gather feedback on specific items people were interested in and raise awareness of those in need.
As the pandemic has evolved, she’s helped others in the area, bringing fresh fruits to nursing homes hit hard by COVID-19 and providing fruits and vegetables to local shelters, food pantries and people who lost their jobs and can’t afford fresh produce.