ATLANTA — Produce for Kids thanked participating retailers for helping the organization increase its contributions to help support Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.

Produce for Kids thanks retailers for supportAt an Oct. 15 reception during Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit 2011 expo, the Orlando, Fla.-based organization thanked retail chains and their produce suppliers for helping raise more than $408,000 for the hospital and other children’s nonprofit organizations.

John Shuman, president of Shuman Produce Inc., Reidsville, Ga. who founded Produce for Kids in 2002, told participants he expects the group’s “Eat Smart for a Great Start” fall campaign to be successful as well.

“I think we’re sitting in the catbird’s seat in this healthy eating move to end childhood obesity,” Shuman said. “We have healthy foods we’re marketing. This program helps save and improve the lives of children all over the country.”

Sixteen retail chains and their 40 produce suppliers pushed cumulative contributions to $3.5 million with their spring campaign.

Staci Cross, a regional director of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, said the hospitals last year provided $2.5 billion in charitable care.

“The $3.5 million you’ve raised is an amazing amount of money,” she said. “Every dollar and every penny you raise goes to the children. We can’t thank you enough.”

The following retailers were recognized for their contributions:

  • Acme Markets Inc., Malvern, Pa., $46,575;
  • Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc., Kansas City, Kan., $17,930;
  • Ahold USA Inc.’s Giant Food Stores, Martin’s Super Food Store, Giant Food LLC and Stop & Shop Supermarkets, $39,774;
  • King Soopers, Denver, a division of Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., $24,448;
  • Kroger’s Southwest division, $34,978;
  • Meijer Inc. Grand Rapids, Mich., $53,012;
  • Price Chopper, Schenectady, N.Y., $9,164;
  • Publix Super Markets Inc., Lakeland, Fla., $181,920;

Also, members of the East Ellijay, Ga.-based Southeast Produce Council’s Southeast Training Education Program for Upcoming Professionals retail and foodservice training program contributed $520.

Associated Wholesale Grocers joined the program in 2011.

“We had a really good response from retailers,” said Don Ketter, the operation’s Oklahoma City-based produce director. “They’re very supportive of this great cause sponsoring on behalf of independent retailers in Oklahoma.”

Produce for Kids’ fall campaign is designed to benefit PBS Kids’ nutrition-based programming.