( File )

Michigan apple grower-shippers, marketers and processors are donating fresh and sliced apples to school district meal pick up sites throughout the state.

With schools closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the donations will ensure children receive healthy meal options, according to a news release from the Lansing-based Michigan Apple Committee, which is coordinating the effort. The Food Bank Council of Michigan also is cooperating.

The shipments — 346,000 fresh apples and 726,000 packages of sliced apple — are being distributed by SFL Cos., Burns Produce LLC and Destin Logistics LLC, according to a news release. Phil Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan, said in the release that nearly one million Michigan students are without a “consistent food source.”

“The Michigan apple growers, shippers and other industry members are always willing to step up and do their part to contribute to those in need,” Diane Smith, executive director of the Michican Apple Committee, said in the release. “It was just a matter of coordinating the logistics and working with our friends at the Food Bank Council to get this done.”

Apple companies that are participating in donations include:

  • Applewood Fresh Growers, Sparta;
  • BelleHarvest Sales Inc./Michigan Fresh Marketing, Belding and Comstock Park;
  • Jack Brown Produce Inc., Sparta;
  • North Bay Produce Inc., Traverse City;
  • Peterson Farms, Shelby;
  • Rasch Brothers Apple Storage, Grand Rapids; and
  • Riveridge Produce Marketing Inc., Sparta.

Related stories:

Wish Farms donates tons of strawberries to Florida food banks

FiveStar Gourmet gives Feeding America 15,000 salads during crisis

John D’Arrigo kicks off Ag Challenge with donations during crisis