Accidental grapefruit theft leads to charity donations

Jan. 23, 2014 at 5:14 PM
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HOUSTON, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- The founders of a Houston charity said their accidental theft of dozens of grapefruit from a family's tree led to a flood of donations.

Kent Keith and Karen Gordon, the married couple behind the FruitShare charity, said they pick fruit from designated trees in Houston for needy families and they discovered a few days after clearing a tree of dozens of grapefruit that the tree they were supposed to pick from was across the street, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday.

"We thought, oh my gosh, we stole all their fruit," Gordon said.

The owners of the tree, Elena Coates and Bruce Wilcoxon, said Keith and Gordon came to their home to reveal the answer to the mystery of their stolen fruit.

"They came to our door one Sunday," Coates said, "Kent said, 'I'm the guy who stole all your fruit.'"

Coates and Wilcoxon said they were happy to hear their grapefruit went toward a worthy cause. They said they plan to donate more fruit voluntarily next year.

Keith and Gordon said the publicity from the incident has led to a flood of Houston residents offering to allow FruitShare to pick from their trees.

They said they picked 500 pounds of fruit Saturday from the trees of homeowners who heard about FruitShare from stories about the grapefruit caper.

"We've taken this on as a love of labor," Keith said. "We hope next year we can collect 10,000 pounds of fruit. If you have a tree we can harvest the fruit on, please let us know and we'll come and get it for you."

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