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One year, a tree on the campus of Green Acres Elementary School, near Santa Cruz, California, bore strange fruit—mostly sandwiches, but sometimes a cookie, a cupcake, an apple or an orange.

It came into full bearing from a seed planted by teachers Sophie Farrar and Sandra Enz, who were appalled at the quantities of uneaten sandwiches discarded by the youngsters. They suggested wrapped sandwiches be placed under what children began to call the free-food tree, for students who had come without a lunch, or who had lost or forgotten their lunches. The idea was quickly popular. Some youngsters asked their mothers to pack an extra sandwich so they'd have one to put under the free-food tree.

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