Name: Andre Yu Yeung
From: Arcadia, CA
School: Arcadia High School
light of the critical homelessness issue in Los Angeles County and
food waste problem caused by unattended fruits in our community, I
co-founded “Fruit For Homeless” in October 2017 to help
feed the homeless by picking homegrown overabundant fruits in
residences and donating our harvests to non-profit organizations with
the goal of advancing social justice and progressing spiritual
wellness. The team I have built has been picking fruits almost every
weekend and holidays during the peak harvest season. By spreading the
love of fruits also through direct street outreach to homeless
encampment and community picnics, we feed the hungry, build stronger
community, inspire people to give, and empower people in need.
have a leadership role and my responsibilities include community
outreach, recruitment, scheduling, fruit picking, fruit delivery and
maintenance of website and social media. For
the past 12 months, we have picked over 15,500 pounds of fruits which
served approximately 20,000 homeless registrants/low-income families,
and we have contributed over 1,500 volunteer hours as a team.
Individually, I volunteer at least 10-15 hours per week so I have
accumulated over 730 hours for the past year.
One of the
challenges is that we have to pick fruits effectively as we usually
get tired after two hours of intense picking under the sun. Fruits up
high where ladders and pickers cannot reach are difficult to pick. I
trained my helpers to pick fruits wisely with different tools.
Seeing the smiles of our fruit recipients is priceless and
gives me the most satisfaction. One time a homeless lady literally
thanked us 10 times for getting them fresh fruits other than
preserved food. Supporters’ encouraging comments on our social media
are warm and uplifting. Donors appreciate our tree trimming service
while picking fruits. A donor one time gave us $120 but we politely
declined. She was pleased that we cleared her dead tree branches and
made her feel good of helping others without leaving her home.
self-initiative provides me an opportunity to lead, build my own team
and collaborate. We blend complementary strengths and foster
creativity. I learn how to manage my time more efficiently and I
acquire new skills of interacting with community leaders and
partnering with other organizations that most students normally do
not deal with at this age.
dream is to become a scientific researcher, entrepreneur, and
philanthropist to solve pressing global issues like eminent superbug
epidemics and diminishing natural resources. To me, “forward
looking” means looking at life at a different perspective. Give
without expecting and you will live without regret. I
hope to educate the next generation in being creative in finding
novel solutions and we
shall never cease from exploring.
My future plan is to turn
Fruit For Homeless into a national or even global network. If I were
to come back in 30 years, my volunteering would have sowed the seeds
in making a difference one fruit at a time by spreading the message
of love and kindness.