Coop students from several Moncton high schools are taking part in the YMCA’s Community Action Network which is a national program aimed to help young people develop ways to tackle issues in their community, said coordinator of the program Nicole Wry.
“We are in 17 locations in Canada and we work with youth who are 15 to 30 who see problems in their community and want to fix something,” said Wry.
Her Moncton group calls themselves the A-Team — short for apple — and their mission is to help people who may need a hand digging out from under food insecurity by planting 14 fruit trees along walking trails in their communities.
“It was a lot of fun to plant trees and it was great,” said Sara MacDiarmid, a Grade 12 student at Riverview High School.
According to YMCA’s across Canada, over the past several months, groups across the country have pivoted to meet new needs emerging amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Moncton group chose to focus on providing food security, particularly for people without a home.
“We think it is important because people who are not physically able to pay for food right now can have free access to food,” said Dylan Doyle, a Grade 12 student at Harrison Trimble High School who is taking part in the program.
Wry said if someone happens to be walking along one of the trails where they have planted the trees who is experiencing food insecurity, they can stop and grab a piece of fresh fruit right off the tree.
The apple and pear trees will also be able to support school breakfast programs, and the trees should start producing fruit within three to five years.
The trees and supplies for the project are being funded by Employment and Social Development Canada and Canada Service Corps, said Wry.
“Each project gets about $1,500 to work with,” she said.
Those involved also develop their project plans and oversee the implementation of those plans to enhance their employment skills.