GLENNVILLE, Ga. — Pink handles on special retail consumer onion packs will identify the newest charity funded by Bland Farms Inc.

Bland supports breast cancer awareness

Doug Ohlemeier

Michael Hively (left), general manager of Bland Farms Inc., Glennville, Ga., and Troy Bland, asset and transportation manager, check onions south of Reidsville, Ga., in late February.
Hively says this year’s overall Vidalia crop should be down by at least 20% after heavy rains delayed early plantings and colder than normal weather prevented crops from properly growing.

Moving to support another charitable cause, Bland Farms is expanding its cause marketing to include breast cancer awareness.

In 2008, the grower-shipper started a program that benefits the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Bland, which uses the St. Jude’s logo in its retail Vidalia advertisements, donates an undetermined percentage of the onion’s per-box, per-advertisement sales to St. Jude’s in the participating supermarket chain’s name.

The program, open to all onions and produce shippers, has Bland and its customers and workers contributing $300,000 to the hospital program.

So far, Bland has raised and donated more than $200,000 to the effort, said Richard Pazderski, sales and marketing director.

Pazderski said Bland doesn’t plan to lessen its contributions to the St. Jude’s effort, but saw the need to support the cause of fighting breast cancer.

“We see this as an opportunity to be associated the Bland label with a worthwhile cause,” he said. “Breast cancer awareness is getting bigger every year. You see it. It touches almost everything now.”

Though Bland expected to complete financial details of the program by early April, Pazderski said a pink label and pink handles on the onion bags would help draw attention to the cause in produce aisles. After Bland raises $300,000 it promised for the St. Jude’s program, Pazderski said the grower-shipper plans to re-up the program and provide that same or a similar contribution to the cause every three years.

Bland’s first St. Jude’s commitment expires at the end of this year.

“That commitment is there whether we sell a box or not,” he said.

“It’s not always the dollar amount but the effort you put forward in day-to-day activities. You can’t financially measure the success of a program like that. But if you go home at night and feel good about what a company is doing to the footprint of humanity, that’s success in my book.”