The Community One Foundation fruit have been the official mascot of Community One since back in the 1980s! You’ve likely seen our fruit at many community events, including Rainbow Grant ceremonies, Toronto Pride – and even NYC Pride. We had a chance to catch up with Geremy, the “kiwi”, to learn a little bit more about how the Community One fruit came to be — read our interview with Geremy below!
What is the origin story of the fruit?
We first touched base in 1982 for auctions for the show Fruit Cocktail. Community One was first known as The Gay Community Appeal, then The Lesbian and Gay Community Appeal (LCGA – which the Fruit did a song and dance to the tune of YMCA complete with hand movement) totally silly but so much fun. Then the group was known as The Appeal, and now Community One Foundation. Harold the Pineapple and I were the only 2 persons, cast and crew, who were in all 7 Fruit Cocktail shows. Harold as the grapes then the pineapple, me as various roles and then the Kiwi. We were the MC’s of the variety type show that Fruit Cocktail was. We basically tied musical numbers and skits together (complete with bad fruit puns) and I mean real groaners.
How did you construct the original costumes?
Sheila P made the original costumes (she was on the TV show Sue Thomas FBI). She did an excellent job. The costumes were getting worn out as they are used 2 times a month plus 12 times in June. Sheila was not available to make new costumes. A person donated money to the Appeal (now Community One Foundation) earmarked for costumes. I had a theatre school make them. “They needed the practice,” the theatre teacher said. We paid for the materials. Then another person donated money for new tights and gloves. I house the costumes, mend them and maintain the fixing up, laundering the tights, gloves etc. I’ve been doing this for decades.
What was the initial goal of the Fruit?
The goal of the Fruit was to promote Fruit Cocktail but then quickly became the mascots of LGCA. We would attend various community events (as Harold says, “We’ll go the opening of an envelope if it means a donation to The Appeal!”).
Since the early 90’s, we have been at every Pride Flag raising ceremony… a number of years with me as the KIWI accompanied by my kindergarten students. We’ve done the Legislative Building flag raising, Pride & Remembrance Run, Pride parade, etc.
What has been the most rewarding experience about being a Community One Foundation fruit?
Gay Community Appeal was a grassroots organization at the beginning. From the community raising money to give via grants to various groups within the community. Knowing that in a fun way we as Fruit could make a difference has been very rewarding. The diversity of the people receiving the grants is astronomical. We contributed at the beginning and continue to do so today. The longevity has been tremendous.
Stay tuned for more from the Community One Foundation Fruit in the months to come!