DNO Produce, Columbus, Ohio, was one of 25 companies to receive a $1,000 grant to help companies donate fresh produce to make it available to children during the COVID-19 crisis. ( Courtesy DNO Produce /United Fresh )

The United Fresh Start Foundation has awarded 25 companies $1,000 each to defray some of the costs of supplying fresh fruits and vegetables to children and families due to the pandemic closing schools.

The foundation established the COVID-19 Rapid Response FRESH Grants to provide food to students, and help alleviate some of the losses felt by produce companies that have lost foodservice, hospitality and school meal accounts since the crisis hit.

“When you know what the right thing to do is, it is important that you move forward and do it wholeheartedly — that’s what DNO Produce always strives to do,” Alex DiNovo, president and chief operating officer of DNO Produce, Columbus, Ohio, said in the release.

Brothers Produce of Dallas Inc, is distributing produce to elementary schools.

“We are so glad to be able to provide our underserved community with access to fresh fruits and vegetables to help ease their burden of bringing food to the table,” Jose Monreal, finance/human resources director at Brothers Produce of Dallas, said in the release.

The companies that received the grants, and where the produce will go, are:The companies that received the grants, and where the produce will go, are:

  • AeroFarms, Newark, N.J.: Table to Table;
  • Aloha Produce Foodservices, Bend, Ore.: The Giving Plate, The Shephard’s House Ministries, Council on Aging and Co Veterans;
  • AM Fresh North America Inc., Glassboro, N.J.: Glassboro Food Bank; 
  • Ark Foods Group Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y.: City Harvest
  • Bonanza Produce Co., Sparks, Nev.: Reno Sparks Gospel Mission;
  • Brothers Produce of Dallas Inc., Dallas: Range Elementary School (Mesquite, Texas);
  • DNO Produce, Columbus, Ohio: Communities in Schools, Southwest City Schools (Grove City, Ohio);
  • Freshway Produce Inc., Atlanta: Feeding South Florida;
  • Indianhead Foodservice, Eau Claire, Wis.: Chippewa Falls Area School District;
  • J&J Produce Co. Inc., Hattiesburg, Miss.: Lamar County School District, Petal School District, Forrest School District and Hattiesburg Public School District;
  • J.H. Honeycutt & Sons Inc., Chadbourn, N.C.: Food Bank Central & Eastern North Carolina;
  • Kimball & Thompson Produce Co. Inc., Lowell, Ark: Arkansas Food Bank;
  • Lancaster Foods, Jessup, Md.: ALIVE! Food Bank;
  • Limehouse Produce, North Charleston, S.C.: Lowcountry Food Bank;
  • Miller Farms, Clinton, Md.: Capital Area Food Bank (Washington, D.C.);
  • Potato Specialty Co. Inc., Lubbock, Texas: Lubbock Impact;
  • Preferred Produce. Detroit: Motor City Mitten Mission;
  • Pure Flavor, Leamington, Ontario: Peach County Schools;
  • Sirna & Sons Produce, Ravenna, Ohio: Center of Hope;
  • Southern Colorado Farms, Center, Colo.: Care and Share Food Banks;
  • Specialty Produce Inc., San Diego: San Diego Food Bank;
  • Tropical Sourcing LLC, Livingston, N.J.: Morris County Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce;
  • Willie Itule Produce, Phoenix: St. Mary’s Food Bank.
  • Worden Farm, Punta Gorda, Fla.: All Faiths Food Bank, Boys and Girls Club Sarasota County and Charlotte County; and
  • Zafar Produce Inc., Windsor, N.Y.: Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.

“We’re proud to continue bringing community members and the supply chain together to break down the barriers that impact access to fresh produce during this extraordinary time,” Tom Stenzel, president and CEO of the United Fresh Produce Association, said in the release.

For more information on the program see the United Fresh website, or contact Mollie Van Lieu, senior director of nutrition policy at United Fresh, at mvanlieu@unitedfresh.org.

To see what other companies are doing to support access to fresh produce during the pandemic, see The Packer's COVID-19 landing page.

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