CERRITOS, Calif. — Actor, entrepreneur and ’60s singing sensation Frankie Avalon made a return appearance at the La Mirada-based Fresh Produce & Floral Council’s annual holiday charity auction Dec. 12 and helped the association raise nearly $60,000.
This was the fourth time in five years that Avalon served as guest auctioneer. He was assisted by Bill Laliberte, president of WJL Distributors, Thousand Oaks, and Kent Kuwata, category manager, sales and merchandising for Smart & Final, Commerce.
This year’s event brought in $58,505 from a live auction, silent auction, 50/50 drawing and additional bidding.
Proceeds went to the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools program and to the Wounded Warriors program to aid wounded veterans.
Just more than $20,000 was raised in response to a special appeal by Dick Spezzano, president of Spezzano Consulting Services, Monrovia, and Karen Caplan, president and chief executive officer of Frieda’s Inc., Los Alamitos, two of the four co-chairs of the United Fresh Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools campaign.
The money will go toward the goal of setting up 350 salad bars in the state’s schools by mid-May.
Several companies pledged the entire $2,625 amount for a full salad bar. They were:
- American Business Bank, Los Angeles;
- Green Thumb Produce, Banning;
- Mastronardi Produce – West LLC, Salinas;
- San Miguel Produce Inc., Oxnard;
- Vision Produce Co., Los Angeles; and
- WJL Distributors, Thousand Oaks.
This year, participants bid on items such as Los Angeles Lakers basketball tickets, autographed basketballs, a travel package, flat screen TV and a trip to Las Vegas to see Avalon’s show at the South Point Casino in May.
A highlight was a $10,000 bid for a full-page newspaper ad, iPad tablet and lunch for four with Roger Schroeder, vice president of produce operations for Stater Bros. Markets, San Bernardino, Calif.
The auction was during a luncheon at the Sheraton Cerritos hotel.