Fruit may be helping both physical and mental health in Clyde this winter.

Clyde and District Lions Club project co-ordinator Kate Whyte said the Whangarei Lions Club, along with other Northland community groups, collected citrus fruit from their area which was transported by Mainfreight, free of charge, to Cromwell.

Clyde and District Lions Club members collected the four pallets loaded with around two tonnes of fruit and took it to a member’s garage. Club members got together and packed bags with a variety of fruit including tangelos, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, and mandarins.

The fruit was donated by people in Northland. The club advertised the date they would be accepting donations and everyone from home gardeners to roadside foragers turned up with their offerings, Mrs Whyte said.

‘‘The fruit is in absolutely impeccable condition.’’

Clyde residents over 65 were the target group for the fruity gifts, an annual event which started about three years ago.

‘‘The club decided people had had it hard the last three or four years with the pandemic and the way the cost of living has gone and we just thought it was one way to get something into the seniors. They seem to get forgotten . . .they won’t buy the fruit because they need meds or need to get something else. It’s one way we can show them they are not forgotten.’’

Lions club members delivered the fruit packs to people in retirement housing and one member had a novel approach, Mrs Whyte said.

‘‘She said ‘If I see a lady with grey hair I’ll wind my window down and ask: have you had citrus from the Lions Club?’.’’

As well as being a tasty treat the fruit was one way to connect with people in the community who may be lonely or isolated.

‘‘Some people don’t see anybody for a long time but they get a knock on the door and there’s someone there with a bag of fruit with our logo on it.’’

Fruit had also been delivered to Living Options, at Dunstan Hospital, the Salvation Army shop in Alexandra, where it was offered to customers and the Lions food pantry in Clyde.

Once the Lions had distributed as much as they could any fruit left would be donated to the foodbank.