Houston group donates 1,250 tons produceHOUSTON — The Houston Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association set an ambitious goal to celebrate its 25th Gift of Produce to the Houston Food Bank.

The group doubled its previous year’s donation with a 2.5 million-pound donation of fresh produce to the food bank.

“This was 62 truckloads of produce distributed over a 10-day period,” said Dave Anderson, president of the association.

The association was helped in its efforts by a new retail and consumer component to the program. Participating retailers in the Houston area featured in-store signage and point-of-sale materials about the program and provided an option for consumers to participate. The group also launched a year-round website, www.giftofproduce.org, to collect funds for fresh produce donations to the food bank.

Houston group donates 1,250 tons produceThe in-store program began Dec. 7 in 110 Houston area Kroger stores.

Tim Nowlin, Kroger’s southwest category manager, said the retailer plans to run the program again in January.

The Gift of Produce started with a 100,000-pound donation and grew to more than 1,000,000 pounds annually over the past several years. Produce is delivered in early December to the Houston Food Bank, which distributes it to its member agencies.