The United Fresh Start Foundation has infused the fresh produce industry with 25 $1,000 COVID-19 Rapid Response FRESH Grants to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for children and families in need, while also creating opportunities for foodservice distributors experiencing lost markets due to the restaurant, hospitality and school shutdowns.
“During this time of crisis, we’re honored to be able to ensure that 25 more communities will have access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Lisa McNeece, VP, Foodservice and Industrial Sales, Grimmway Enterprises and Chair of the United Fresh Start Foundation Board of Trustees. “We praise all of the companies across the supply chain working within their communities to broaden access to fresh fruits and vegetables, despite their own economic hardships.”
The 25 grant recipients will provide fresh fruits and vegetables to children and families in need, reaching them in schools, community centers and other emergency feeding sites. Grant recipient DNO Produce will donate fresh produce to hundreds who are served by the organization Communities in Schools, working with the Southwest City Schools, in Grove City, OH.
“When you know what the right thing to do is, it is important that you move forward and do it wholeheartedly—that’s what DNO Produce always strives to do,” added Alex DiNovo, President and COO, DNO Produce.
Another grant recipient, Brothers Produce of Dallas, has committed fresh produce donations to hundreds of families that are part of the local community served by Range Elementary School in Mesquite, TX.
“Our community has been very appreciative of the fresh produce donations,” said Jose Monreal, Finance/HR Director, Brothers Produce of Dallas. “We are so glad to be able to provide our underserved community with access to fresh fruits and vegetables to help ease their burden of bringing food to the table.” Zafar Produce, located near Newburgh, NY, used their grant funds to help serve hundreds through their local food bank.
“The Food Bank of Hudson Valley was ecstatic to receive our bananas, lettuce, broccoli, strawberries and avocados,” said Tom Brandt, Director of Real Estate, Zafar Produce “We’re thrilled that we took advantage of this opportunity to give back to our local community, and we will be looking for additional opportunities to serve them in the future.”
This program is funded through the generosity of those individuals who have agreed to donate their prepaid registration fees for the United Fresh 2020 Convention in San Diego to the United Fresh Start Foundation. Additional donations will allow the Foundation to build upon its efforts to support companies with fresh produce donations to those in need.