Every Tuesday evening 19-year-old Alex walks a few blocks from his home in central Santa Ana to the La Semilla Calvary Chapel to pick up a box of produce for his family.
He picks from over a hundred boxes overflowing with fruits and vegetables — from eggplant to squash to bananas — assembled on banquet tables by church volunteers.
All of the produce is usable, but much of it is overripe and wouldn’t pass muster at a supermarket. Yet, in a given week it might be the only fresh food that Alex, whose father is unemployed, has access to.
“I love the fresh produce,” said the Santa Ana College student who didn’t want his full name used. “It gives me energy for school. I usually use it to make juice or smoothies.”