Fruit-ful community organization founded by two Marin teens yields sweet results


Georgia Schroeder

Illustration of the Fruits of Labor logo by two Marin teens.

For teenagers, getting involved in their community is not always a top priority with school, activites, and social events. However, by reaching beyond their inner circles into the broader community, some may begin to realize the benefits of community service; Marin Academy (MA) junior Carrie Lange and Archie Williams High School (AWHS) junior Jessie Gauna certainly did.

Carrie and Jessie founded their organization, Fruits of Labor, in late summer of 2021. Carrie had noticed that many of the fruits from her own backyard, as well as her neighbors, were going to waste, inspiring her to take action.

“In my own backyard, I have a bunch of fruit trees and sometimes we don’t actually eat all of them. And I was reading an article the day before or something about food shortages and COVID… and I just thought it might be nice to maybe make things a bit easier for some people,” Carrie said.

The organization’s process begins as community volunteers allow Fruits of Labor pickers into their backyards to collect any extra fruits from trees and bushes. The pickers collect the fruits and box them to donate to the Marin Food Bank. From there, the boxes are weighed and donated through weekly grocery supplying, food stamps, and emergency food supplying to local foundations. 

Fruits of Labor keeps track of how many pounds of fruit each donor contributes. As well as helping others in the community, Carrie reflects on how the experience with Fruits of Labor has brought her and the other pickers closer together.

“I personally didn’t feel as connected to the community but then once I started getting involved, and meeting people from all over Marin County, it really showed me how people can work together and come together to help [others],” Carrie said.

Becoming engaged in the community through service can not only benefit the people being helped, but also community volunteers and organizers. During Carrie’s experience with Fruits of Labor, she and the other pickers have picked and donated around 1,400 pounds of fruit, according to the Fruits of Labor website.

It’s the satisfaction of knowing you’re making a bit of a difference,

— Carrie Lange

With Fruits of Labor, Carrie and Jessie have experienced the reward of giving back to the community firsthand. 

“It is a very good feeling to know that maybe what I am doing has helped out someone,” Jessie said.

Collecting and donating fruits, Carrie and Jessie both notice the difference they have made within their own community and feel the impact on themselves as well.

“It’s the satisfaction of knowing you’re making a bit of a difference,” Carrie said.