A Florida watermelon grower-shipper is generating money to fight breast cancer through a program called Slice for Hope.
In July, Vero Beach, Fla.-based Gibson Produce & Watermelon Sales LLC began shipping using stickers on individual fruit and signs on bins.
Gibson Produce encourages retail customers to contribute any amount they desire to the program, said Trevor Colom, Gibson’s director of food safety and sales.
Colom and Bob Gibson, president and chief executive officer, developed the campaign and didn’t want to use per-carton or percentage of sales guidelines that some produce-related charitable programs use, Colom said.
Gibson Produce plans to link quick-response codes on labels to sliceforhope.org, which is scheduled to launch Sept. 1.
The site is designed to detail contribution disbursement.
Gibson Produce plans to give half the proceeds to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and the rest to Gainesville-based University of Florida’s College of Medicine, as well as individuals needing assistance paying medical bills, Colom said.
Gibson’s sister died of a brain tumor at age 16 and his mother died of bone marrow cancer when she was 56.
“I resented the disease for years,” he said. “Instead of resentment, I thought I should try to do something about it. I decided to start supporting cancer research and stop this terrible disease.”
Founded in 2008, Gibson Produce grows, packs and ships watermelon from its own acreage and from other growers in Florida, Georgia and Delaware and imports from Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.
A 20-year produce sales veteran, Gibson previously sold watermelon for Southern Corporate Packers Inc., Immokalee, Fla., as well as for the defunct Los Angeles-based Sam Perricone Citrus Co. Inc.
Colom worked in advertising and marketing before joining Gibson in 2009.