(Nov. 19) Allen Lund Co. and a handful of West Coast growers are teaming up to help feed needy families in California this Christmas.

La Cañada, Calif.-based Lund will provide transportation for the fourth year in a row for Navidad en el Barrio, a nonprofit organization that provides meals to about 25,000 California families each Christmas.

The charity has been around for 35 years, but fresh produce is a relatively new part of the program. DiMare Fresh Visalia, Visalia, Calif., started contributing citrus to Navidad en el Barrio’s Christmas baskets four years ago.

DiMare Fresh Visalia general manager Stewart Lockwood couldn’t be reached for comment, but Lund spokeswoman Nora Trueblood said DiMare contributed 400 cases of citrus last year and is expected to participate again this year.

Mike McDonald, president of Salinas, Calif.-based M&M West Coast Produce Inc., recruited Salinas growers River Ranch Fresh Foods LLC, Mills Family Farms, Fresh Kist Produce LLC, Church Bros. LLC, Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc. and Taylor Farms of California to contribute last year, and those companies filled a truck with items such as bagged salads and celery.

McDonald said the same companies plan to put together another truckload of lettuce, spring mix, bagged salads, celery and bagged cauliflower and broccoli florets this year. He said the 40,000-pound load will be worth about $20,000.

“I see it growing,” McDonald said. “It’s such a good deed I think more people will want to get involved. We’re looking for everybody’s help from the top of California to the desert.”

Trueblood said other produce companies willing to contribute can contact Lund as late as Dec. 5, and Lund will pick up the donations. She said Lund is scheduled to start picking up loads Dec. 10 and will deliver items to the Orange County warehouse where the baskets are assembled.