FirstFruits Marketing of Washington has finished its eighth annual Take a Bite Out of Hunger program. ( Courtesy FirstFruits Marketing of Washington )

FirstFruits Marketing of Washington has wrapped up the eighth year of its annual Take a Bite Out of Hunger program, partnering with retailers to donate 219,640 pounds of apples to local food banks.

With this year’s total, the program has donated more than 2 million pounds of apples, according to a news release.

FirstFruits, Yakima, Wash., created the program to help feed hungry people and to bring attention to the reality of food insecurity in the U.S. The program works through partnerships with retailers and wholesalers, with FirstFruits donating apples on their behalf to local food banks and the retailer covering the transportation costs, according to the release.

This year’s participating retailers and wholesalers included:

  • AG New England;
  • Barons Market;
  • Bashas’;
  • Charlie’s Produce;
  • Chuck’s Produce;
  • Dave’s Marketplace;
  • Dissmore’s IGA;
  • Frazier Farms Market;
  • Good Food Stores;
  • OK Produce;
  • Raley’s;
  • Roundy’s;
  • Saar’s Market Place;
  • Sobey’s;
  • Stater Brothers;
  • Super 1 Foods; and
  • United Supermarkets.

“Thanks to the dedication and support of our retail partners, the Take a Bite Out of Hunger program continues to grow every year,” Chuck Zeutenhorst, general manager of FirstFruits, said in the release. “Their participation engaging and educating consumers about the issues surrounding hunger is just as important as their donation of fresh apples to underserved families in their local markets.”

The Take a Bite Out of Hunger program seeks to raise awareness about food insecurity, which is not having regular access to safe, affordable and nutritious foods. USDA numbers from 2016 have more than 12% of all U.S. households food-insecure, according to the release.