HOUSTON — An additional two million pounds of produce, the equivalent of 63 truckloads, was distributed through the Houston Food Bank this holiday season thanks to the Houston Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association’s annual Gift of Produce.
The donation was capped off by a presentation at City Hall Dec. 14. Houston Mayor Annise Parker said the donation is essential to help raise fresh fruit and vegetable consumption among the populations most in need.
“Many don’t see a lot of fresh produce in their neighborhood store,” Parker said, while emphasizing that many in need are hard-working families struggling to make it.
This was the 26th annual Gift of Produce to the food bank, and in that time the donation amount has increased from 100,000 pounds to more than two million in the past two years, said Pierre Boucha, HFFVA president, of Los Angeles-based Paramount Farms.
“To date, we’ve donated more than 25.9 million pounds of produce to the Houston Food Bank,” Boucha said.
Bouche said the donation is thanks to HFFVA members, including:
- Country Fresh Inc.
- MountainKing Potatoes
- Paramount Citrus
- POM Wonderful
- The Kroger Co.
- H.E. Butt Co.
- Grocers Supply Co.
- Dole Food Co.
- Del Monte Fresh Produce
- Chiquita Brands International Inc
- Fiesta Mart
- Schoenmann Produce
- Food Town
- DiMare Fresh Inc.
In addition to the fresh produce donation, Food Town Grocery Stores presented a check for $25,000 to the Houston Food Bank.
This is the largest single fresh produce donation to a food bank in the U.S., Boucha said, and the HFFVA is working to further its mission of increasing consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
“We’re working to find ways for how the trade can effectively reach the community,” he said.
The association plans to have a golf tournament fundraiser again this spring, the proceeds of which will go toward programs to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in the greater Houston area.