Day of Caring to kick off orchard planting project

By Mary Katherine Murphy - [email protected]

LAURINBURG — While all of the dozen or so volunteer projects seeking help during next week’s United Way Day of Caring will leave a positive impact on the community, one in particular is expected to be fruitful.

One of the newer projects — a joint effort between United Way and the city of Laurinburg — will include the creation on Friday of a community fruit orchard on McDougald Avenue.

That morning, 200 semi-dwarf red and green apple, Kieffer and pineapple pear, and brown turkey fig saplings will be delivered to a one-acre cleared plot behind the Washington Park walking track.

The plot is owned by the city, which has approved its use as a community orchard. To purchase the trees, city community development director Teddy Warner secured a $4,000 grant from Electricities for the purpose of beautifying low-income areas.

“We really hope the community around this will benefit the most from it; we’re hoping that anyone around there will come and pick fruit whenever they want,” Warner said. “We picked this area mainly because the city and county own it and we want to have a partnership so hopefully in the future we can do more things together.”

The trees will be planted in 20 rows about 15 feet apart. Holes will be dug next week by the city’s electric department, leaving the work of placing and watering the trees to volunteers.

Once the orchard is planted, the city will take over mowing of the area and irrigating the trees. Other than that, the plot should be relatively low-maintenance, with the two species of pears pollinating each other.

“Basically the plan is to have a lot of fruit next spring,” said Warner. “Folks can go out there and pick the figs and eat them right off the tree.

“We’re really trying to give back to the community — this is another focus of community development, to give back to the community and unite people, focusing on the positives.”

Other Day of Caring volunteer projects include:

— Litter removal and landscaping in highly visible areas of the city with the Laurinburg-Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce Green Committee.

— Packing snack bags for needy students with Project In As Much.

— Walking shelter dogs, photographing adoptable dogs, and sprucing up the front garden at the J.D. and Fran Asher Animal Shelter.

— Framing Habitat for Humanity of Scotland County’s 47th house.

— Organizing the storage area at the Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center of Scotland County.

Day of Caring will kick off at 8 a.m. on Friday at Laurinburg Presbyterian Church. To sign up for a volunteer project or for information, call United Way Executive Director Debbie Grant at 910-276-6064.

Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.

By Mary Katherine Murphy

[email protected]

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