When life gives you lemons, donate them to charity. 

Baton Rouge Green is asking residents with over-abundant citrus trees to "share the fruit" with capital area families the holiday season as part of its annual City Citrus Pick Event.

Residents with more fruit than they can eat can register their trees online at www.BatonRougeGreen.com. Then, on Dec. 7, volunteers will carefully harvest the citrus for free and transport it to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, where the fruit will be distributed to families in need throughout southeast Louisiana. 

"There are hundreds of established trees producing fruit that won't be entirely consumed by residents. We hate to see this healthy fresh food go to waste," said Christopher Cooper, manager of the City Citrus program. 

The program, now in its sixth year, has reaped thousands of pounds of lemons, grapefruit and oranges since its start.

In 2018, more than 80 volunteers harvested and delivered more than 2,500 pounds of fresh citrus to the food bank. In past years as much as 6,500 pounds were harvested. 

The program offers a much-needed injection of fresh, healthy foods for the food bank's patrons.

“We know that more fresh fruits and produce leads to better outcomes for those in need,” said Mike Manning, president of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.

The "pickers," or volunteer harvesters, are carefully trained and equipped to not damage the trees. Kids are also welcome to join in the day of service. 

"We just want our community to be good stewards of these valuable resources,” Cooper said. 

Volunteers also can register on the Baton Rouge Green website.

Email Blake Paterson at bpaterson@theadvocate.com and follow him on Twitter @blakepater