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Rotary Club of Dunedin member Les Cleveland said this year's "Operation Citrus" had come together "at the last minute", as bad weather threatened to delay delivery of bags of oranges, lemons, mandarins and grapefruit.
Mr Cleveland said the event was now in its 27th year.
Each year the club sourced fruit from the North Island, through the Taradale Rotary Club, in Hawkes Bay.
Fruit, and marmalade and lemon honey made from older grapefruit and oranges, would also be distributed to the elderly through Meals on Wheels, Age Concern and the Salvation Army.
Rises in food prices in the last year had made fresh fruit less affordable for many elderly, and the charity "drop" was eagerly anticipated by many, he said.
"The phone was ringing a month ago with people saying 'when's it coming?"' Mr Cleveland said the group appreciated being able to use railway warehouses to store and pack the fruit before it was delivered.
"The fruit was delayed near Kaikoura by weather and slips, and everyone's put in a huge last-minute effort to make it come together. We find with this project people really get behind it too make work," Mr Cleveland said.