( Brooke Park )

Companies and industry associations are donating products and resources to respond to the pandemic, helping feed hungry families and keeping field workers safe.

The companies and associations include the following.

Fyffes North America

Fyffes North America, Coral Gables, Fla., which imports into fruit at the Port of Philadelphia, made its second weekly donation of 10,000 pounds of fruit to support the city’s hunger relief efforts.

The donation of tons of pineapples and bananas on April 20 was coordinated by Fyffes, along with Holt Logistics Corp., the City of Philadelphi and Philabundance.

“Access to fresh food during the COVID-19 pandemic is becoming an increasingly urgent issue in the Philadelphia area,” Juan Alarcon, CEO of Fyffes North America, said in a news release. “As the largest importer of fresh fruit into the Port of Philadelphia, we are uniquely suited to address food insecurity at this moment.”

The fruit was sent to a warehouse in Roxborough that is serving as an emergency operations center for food distribution. According to Philabundance food bank, nearly 60,000 pounds of produce has been distributed to area sites.

Fyffes expects to donate melons and other tropical fruits as well, as weekly distributions continue, according to the release.

Grower-Shipper Association of Central California

The Grower-Shipper Association of Central California, Salinas, is partnering with area health care facilities to provide in-field coronavirus education by medical professionals.

Registered nurses from Mee Memorial Hospital, King City; Natividad Medical Center, Salinas; Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, Salinas; and the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, Monterey; are visiting fields, along with doctors from Natividad’s Family Medicine Residency Program, according to a news release from the grower-shipper association.

"We know that businesses are taking precautions such as social distancing, facial coverings, and safe hygiene practices to reduce COVID-19 risks to agricultural employees,” Abby Taylor-Silva, vice president of policy and communications at the association. 

To sign up, contact Tonnie Reyes at [email protected], with the following information:

  • How many workers;
  • Where the general location is;
  • How many in attendance at each location; and
  • Primary contact to coordinate scheduling.

“We strongly encourage every agricultural operation to reserve time with these front-line health care professionals to help address employee concerns and to learn about precautions at home to stay safe and healthy," Taylor-Silva said in the release.

Idaho potato industry

Growers and shippers of Idaho potatoes in recent weeks have donated nearly four million pounds of potatoes to Feeding the Northwest, Spokane, Wash.
The potatoes have been distributed throughout the Feeding America system, according to Rod Wieber, executive director of Feeding the Northwest.
“We’re extremely thankful for the support of the Idaho potato shippers who have stepped up to provide food at a time of unprecedented need,” Wieber said in a news release.
These donations are not unique to the current situation, according Shawn Boyle, president and general counsel of the Idaho Grower Shippers Association.
“Every year since I have been in this position, in addition to frequent donations throughout the year, Idaho shippers have donated a truckload (approximately 40,000 pounds) of potatoes to food banks for Thanksgiving and another truckload for Christmas,” Boyle said in an e-mail.
“Additionally, the IGSA makes a $5,000 donation to Feeding America every year to help where needed,” Boyle said in the e-mail. “Even potato packaging is regularly donated to help local food banks with food distributions.”

Sunkist Growers

Sunkist Growers has started the #MySunkistTable campaign to encourage health eating habits, with input from registered dietitians.

As consumers are spending more time at home, and cooking more with dine-in services at restaurants shut down, the campaign promotes fresh ingredients. Sunkist cites shopper data from IRI, Chicago, in a news release on the campaign.

“As consumers are social distancing, we’re seeing significant changes in shopper behavior and consumer eating habits,” Cassie Howard, director of category management at Sunkist Growers, said in the release. “The IRI data also shows that people are reducing their number of trips to the store, doing more weekday shopping, and making more meals from scratch.”

Citrus season is in full swing, and Sunkist has a variety of recipes featuring different varieties.

“Health and wellness are on top of everyone’s minds, and consumers are extra focused on vitamin C and fresh foods that have some shelf stability,” Christina Ward, director of global brand marketing, said in the release. “When refrigerated and stored properly, fresh citrus can last up to four weeks, providing consumers with even more versatile options.”

Sunkist encourages the use of #MySunkistTable and tagging @SunkistCitrus on Instagram.

To see what other companies are doing during the pandemic, see The Packer's COVID-19 news updates.

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