Team Produce Walks for Hope despite weatherDUARTE, Calif. — Members of the Southern California produce industry braved rain and chilly weather to team up for the sixth consecutive year to take part in the Walk for Hope.

About 160 members of 2011 Team Produce raised more than $16,000 for the City of Hope’s Women’s Cancers Program, said team captain Marty Craner, owner and president of B&C Fresh Sales, Orange, Calif.

In addition, produce-related companies paid approximately $33,000 in sponsorship fees, and local produce firms donated more than $100,000 worth of fruits and vegetables that were distributed free during the Nov. 6 event.

“We are delighted to receive continuous support from a variety of retailers and suppliers in the produce industry,” said Cheryl Kennick, senior director of development for the City of Hope Food Industries Fund.

Team Produce Walks for Hope despite weather“Their generosity and commitment to the movement to fight women’s cancers will enable City of Hope to quickly bring treatments to patients who need them.”

Last year, the walk was expanded to include all women’s cancers, not just breast cancer.

The Walk for Hope is an ideal venue for the produce industry, Craner said.

“It allows us is to get our fresh message out about all the goodness of fresh fruits and vegetables,” she said.

She pointed out that the City of Hope is conducting research into the cancer-fighting attributes of fresh produce, including pomegranates, mushrooms and grapes.

“We’re excited to have this collaboration,” she said. “It’s a great message to our industry.”

Roger Schroeder, vice president of produce operations for San Bernardino, Calif.-based Stater Bros. Markets, which has backed the walk for several years, lauded the dedication of the rain-drenched participants and said, “This is just the kind of thing Stater Bros. always wanted to support.”

Other companies supporting this year’s fundraiser were:

  • Albertsons Southern California Division, Fullerton, Calif.;
  • Apio Inc., Guadalupe, Calif.;
  • B&C Fresh Sales;
  • Boskovich Farms Inc., Oxnard, Calif.;
  • Coast Produce Co., Los Angeles;
  • Crunch Pak, Cashmere, Wash.;
  • Deminski, Van Valkenburg & Associates LLC, Corona, Calif.
  • Davis-Lewis Orchards, Garden Grove, Calif.;
  • DLJ Produce Inc., Industry, Calif.;
  • Fruit 2 Day, Broomfield, Colo.;
  • Dole Fresh Fruit Co., Westlake Village, Calif.;
  • Fresh Express Inc., Salinas;
  • Hollandia Produce LLC, Carpinteria, Calif.;
  • Mariani Nut Co. Inc., Winters, Calif.;
  • Perimeter Sales & Merchandising, Los Alamitos, Calif.;
  • Progressive Produce, Los Angeles;
  • Ready Pac Foods Inc., Irwindale, Calif.;
  • Sambazon, San Clemente, Calif.;
  • Smart & Final Stores LLC, City of Commerce, Calif.;
  • Sunkist Growers Inc., Sherman Oaks, Calif.;
  • Sun-Rype Products Ltd., Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada;
  • Temkin International Inc., Payson, Utah;
  • Umina Bros. Inc., Los Angeles; and
  • Vons, Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
  • Westlake Produce Co., Los Angeles.

In all, an estimated 10,000 people showed up for the 15th annual walk, which topped $1 record million in donations, according to the City of Hope.