Wednesday, March 18, 2009

KGO Newstalk AM810 Radio, Bret Burkhart - March 18, 2009

Bret Burkhart: You never know when inspiration will strike.

Anna: My baby was kind of fussy, and she had colic. All the things that little babies go through.

Bret Burkhart: Like many new parents, Anna Chan tried an old trick to help calm her daughter Ava.

Anna: So we spent a lot of time in our car, with Ava in the carseat, driving around.

Bret Burkhart: And that's when it hit her, from the branches of trees around the neighborhoods in Concord and Clayton.Anna: All the trees and the fruit ripening.

Bret Burkhart: Fruit that wasn't being picked.

Anna: So I typed a flyer. I put my flyer on the door.

Bret Burkhart: And the homeowner later invited her to pick lemons to donate to food banks.

Anna: The first house got me to the second house, got me to the third house. I think I'm fifty houses into it for collection.

Bret Burkhart: Fifty homes on a months time. And she's already donated 2,000 lbs. of fruit that would otherwise be considered a waste. It's earned her the nickname "The Lemon Lady of Claycord", but volunteers at the Salvation Army here in Concord say she's more than that.

Ray Bolin (cannot verify spelling): You're a life saver, you really are.

Bret Burkhart: Ray Bolin tells Anna her impact is immeasurable.

Ray Bolin: You were concerned about whether or not we were going to be able to hand out the product you were bringing. And remember I told you that it would be gone by the next day? It was gone.

Anna: And it was.

Ray Bolin: It was gone.
Ray Bolin: With the way the situation is and a lot of people not having jobs, they're turning more to the charity organizations. But it's people like you that are helping to bring in the donations. We've already met last months goal. Last months goal we did two hundred thirty seven individual families. We're already at two hundred fifty seven families! In two weeks!

Anna: We're only half way into the month!

Ray Bolin: That's correct, and that's why you're a life saver!

Bret Burkhart: But it's her hope that her efforts will inspire others to make a difference.

Anna: Get up and do something!

Ray Bolin: You help somebody and then in turn that person is going to help somebody else.

Anna: Just become inspired! We can be the person that makes the change.

In Concord, Bret Burkhart, KGO radio news.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Diablo Magazine writer, Martha Ross - March 11, 2009

The Lemon Lady of Contra Costa
Stay-at-home Clayton mom devises simple but clever do-it-herself idea for getting fresh fruit into the hands of our community's hungry.
By Martha Ross

Courtesy of Radar at

Anna Chan is one of those simply kind, thoughtful people who goes out of her way to help other people.
I first heard about her via two of my favorite local East Bay bloggers, and Mister Writer. She was involved in some personal advocacy on behalf of a young girl, Katie Grace Groebner, who suffers from pulmonary hypertension, ultimately requiring a heart and lung transplant.
Anna, busy herself with a very active 2-year-old daughter, Ava, helped Katie Grace by drafting more than 50 letters to media outlets, nonprofits, and businesses. She managed to garner donations of tickets and passes to fun kids’ activities such as tickets to the Oakland Zoo.
Now, Anna has a new one-mom, one-daughter project, and it seeks to benefit the growing number of people in our area who need food assistance in these tough economic times. She started out by leaving letters at the homes of people in and around Clayton, asking them if they have trees bearing ripe fruit that they can spare. In her letter, Anna says “I often drive past your house on my way to Grandma’s and notice your fruit trees are filled with a healthy crop. I am wondering if you will be harvesting all the fruit for your own family. Or would you be so kind to pick a few bags for me to deliver to local food pantries. They appreciate fruit donations."
Anna, with some toddler-style help from Ava, also offers to come pick your fruit herself. Of course, sometimes Ava begs off with a nap, and "Daddy or Grandma" sit in the car with Ava while Anna gathers the fruit.
"The other day, we all went out as a family," she e-mailed me. "After lunch, Ava fell asleep, so I knew of a house close by where I already had permission to pick the oranges and lemons. Daddy sat in the car and read a book. Ava slept. And, I picked 50 pounds of fruit! It was easy. It's always thrilling when I meet new people and they are so kind and generous. That is what makes the world a better place."
Anna then donates it to local nonprofits, including to the Monument Crisis Center in Concord and the Salvation Army at the Concord Community Church.
After several weeks in operation, the Anna/Ava project has gathered more than 1,000 pounds of fruit. Anna has also begun sending some letters out the neighborhoods in Walnut Creek's Ygnacio Valley. "Last night, I received my very first reply from a Walnut Creek resident," she emailed me the other day.
If you have some extra fruit hanging on backyard or frontyard trees that you don’t know what to do with, you can send Anna an e-mail. She can be can be reached