CERRITOS, Calif. — Produce industry icon Jan DeLyser recounted her bout with cancer during the annual luncheon of the Produce and Floral Division of the City of Hope Food Industries Circle Aug. 6.
Tom BurfieldDick Spezzano (from left), president of Spezzano Consulting Services; Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the California Avocado Commission; Roger Schroeder, vice president of produce operations for Stater Bros. Markets; and Cheryl Kennick, senior director of development for the Food Industries Circle, chat prior to the annual City of Hope luncheon hosted by the Fresh Produce & Floral Council Aug. 6. Every year, the La Mirada, Calif.-based Fresh Produce & Floral Council dedicates one of its luncheons to acknowledge the role the cancer hospital and research center plays in the battle against cancer and other diseases, and to recognize the produce industry’s support of the facility.
Highlights of the luncheon also included a raffle for $20,000 in cash prizes, presentation of proceeds from a case rebate program and City of Hope’s presentation of the Spirit of Hope Award.
This year’s award recipients were Joel Young and Elvia Menendez, founders of Consolidated West Distributing Inc., Commerce, Calif., a distributor of apples, pears, and cherries.
The award acknowledges the recipients’ “extensive and ongoing commitment to the industry and City of Hope,” said Roger Schroeder, vice president, produce operations for San Bernardino, Calif.-based Stater Bros. Markets and chairman of the City of Hope Food Industries Circle Produce and Floral Division.
This marks City of Hope’s 101st year and the 41st year of the partnership with the Food Industries Circle, said master of ceremonies Dick Spezzano, president of Spezzano Consulting Services, Monrovia, Calif., who also is active with City of Hope.
The Produce and Floral Division is the largest fund-raising division in the Food Industries Circle to support the fight against cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases, Spezzano said.
This year, the Produce and Floral division donated $250,000 to the City of Hope from the raffle and case rebate program.
Participants in the case rebate program took in more than $145,000, and included:
- All Fresh Produce;
- California Avocado Commission;
- B.C. Tree Fruits;
- California Table Grape Commission;
- Consolidated West Distributing;
- Country Fresh Mushrooms;
- DLJ Produce;
- Onions Etc.; and
- WJL Distributors
The San Jose, Calif.-based Mushroom Council donated $315,000 to City of Hope, said Marty Craner, owner of B&C Fresh Sales, Orange, Calif.
Winners of the raffle were Fresh Express/Chiquita, Salinas, Calif., the $10,000 prize; Firstfruits Marketing of Washington LLC, Yakima, Wash., a $5,000 prize; and J. Gamboa Trucking, Yakima, a $5,000 prize.
Although DeLyser was not treated at City of Hope, she spoke about the benefits of the research that has been generated by the millions of dollars raised by the Food Industries Circle and by the Produce and Floral Committee.
“I’m happy to be a survivor and to show the appreciation of survivors around the world for this great research and the support of the industry,” she said.