( Created by Brooke Park )

Produce companies and allied industries continue to respond to the need for fresh produce, monetary donations and other resources at charitable organizations across the country as the pandemic continues. 

Recent donations to help out in the crisis include aid from the following companies.

Del Monte Fresh Produce

Del Monte delivered a truckload of fresh fruit to the City of Oxnard, and the company has donated more than a million pounds of fresh produce to Ventura County’s Food Share in the past year.

The Port of Hueneme, Hueneme, Calif., where the produce company has a warehouse, is assisting Del Monte’s increased donations, to organizations that include Restore Ventura, Oxnard Southwinds Neighborhood Council, Fillmore Kingdom Center and the Oxnard Housing authority, according to a news release.

“In these extraordinary times it is even more important that Fresh Del Monte is doing its part, providing fresh produce to Food Share and the California Food Bank Network they have connected us with,” Del Monte Port Manager Chuck Caulkins said in the release.

Del Monte recently named Art Bouvet, warehouse manager at the port, as community support leader.

Fair Trade USA

Fair Trade USA, Oakland, has made allocations of Fair Trade Community Development Funds more flexible to respond to needs during the pandemic.

The organization met with representatives of more than 80 grower groups at the start of the pandemic, to prioritize needs. Fair Trade USA has also been focused on stopping the spread of misinformation, particularly in indigenous communities, according to a news release.

A U.S. farm is using the fair trade funds as an incentive for workers to practice social distancing, and the company is paying for extra shuttle buses to/from fields to give them more space.

Good Foods

Good Foods, Pleasant Prairie, Wis., is donating $25,000 to No Kid Hungry, and pledging to match another $25,000 in pledges from others who want to join, potentially raising $75,000 to help feed children during the pandemic.

Pledges are being accepted at Good Foods’ No Kid Hungry page.

“Supporting No Kid Hungry is an important part of what we do here at Good Foods and there is no better time to support than now,” Kurt Penn, found and CEO of Good Foods, said in a news release. “We’re excited to invite our partners in the fresh produce industry to join us in support.” 

Starr Ranch Growers

Starr Ranch Growers, Wenatchee, Wash., is donating pallets of apples to food banks, schools and other organizations in 26 states, in partnerships with retailers. That included a donation to the San Antonio Food Bank.

An April 13 segment on the Today Show featured an interview with Eric Cooper, president and CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank. Video showed thousands of people waiting in parking lots for the food to be distributed.

Cooper said demand has doubled at the food bank and that “inventories are going fast.”

Total Quality Logistics

Cincinnati-based Total Quality Logistics is expanding its “Moves that Matter” program, covering the costs of moving products donated by a customer for charitable organizations during the pandemic.

“These are the kinds of loads that remind us what we move can honor, change or even save a life," Kerry Byrne, president of Total Quality Logistics.

The program covers the cost to move qualified products donated by a customer to benefit nonprofit and other organizations around the country, according to a news release.

TQL has donated the cost of transporting:

  • Surgical masks to a New York City hospital;
  • Produce and more than 60,000 bottles of water to the NYC Harvest Foodbank;
  • More than 60,000 bottles of water to the NYC Harvest Foodbank; 
  • Food to Feeding America; and
  • Food to the York County, Pennsylvania Food Bank, for rural areas.

Village Farms International

Greenhouse grower Village Farms International is helping feed more than 10,000 Texas families with donations of tomatoes and cucumbers to more than 10 food banks and food pantries throughout the state.

The company has three greenhouses in Marfa and Fort Davis, according to a news release, and has a distribution facility in Fort Worth.
By mid-April, the company had donated more than 10 truckloads (200 tons) of Texas food banks.

“Times are about to become much harder for many so this (donation) was truly a much-needed ray of sunshine,” Nina Dietzel of the Marfa Food Pantry wrote to Village Farms, according to the release.

At South Cliff Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Senior Pastor Caroll Marr said hundreds of cars line up daily to receive food, and that Village Farms donations have affected thousands of lives.

Editor Tom Karst contributed to this article.

For more stories on what companies are doing to help during the crisis, see The Packer's COVID-19 page.

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