Ocala, Florida — This morning more than 15,500 pounds of fresh oranges were picked in Marion County. The bulk of the oranges were off to the Marion County Jail, where the fruit is served as part of meals for inmates or the oranges are juiced. But the delivery truck made a special stop by Interfaith Emergency Services – a non-profit organization providing food, clothing, and shelter to people living in Marion County. Three thousand pounds of oranges were donated.
The fruit will be shared by Interfaith, Salvation Army, and Brother’s Keeper Soup Kitchen. “The Sheriff’s Office is about more than putting people in jail and enforcing the law. We are also here to assist and support our community. Through these donations, we help out those less fortunate than ourselves,” said Sergeant David Hurst of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
The oranges are from a bumper crop. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has the Inmate Work Farm program that stretches over 431 acres in four locations throughout the county. The farm in Citra produced the citrus that was handpicked by Marion County Sheriff’s Office inmates.
Interfaith Emergency Services’ food pantry manager Thomas Curtis welcomed the delivery and the nutritional value. “It’s a good wholesome food that provides nourishment, vitamins, – all the good stuff,” Curtis said. “It’s not junk food, we rather have 3,000 pounds of oranges than 3,000 bags of potato chips,” he said.