US produce companies combat consumer food insecurity during pandemic

The security measures taken to flatten the curve of the infection rate for the coronavirus has left many Americans in very challenging positions. There are many people who are experiencing food insecurity due to the situation, and produce companies are stepping up to help out the people in need. 

Donating apples to schools
In light of national, state and local quarantines related to the coronavirus, Rainier Fruit and marketing partner T&G Global have donated more than 12,000 apples and 26,000 plastic bags to the Selah School District to support their “Meals on the Move” program that is preparing and delivering more than 3200 daily meals to local students.

As schools and communities around the country have adapted to new ways of life, students and families have been impacted by sudden changes that are affecting their financial and food security.

Rainier Fruit is one of their community’s largest employers and understands the responsibility that comes with that. Mark Zirkle, CEO of Rainier Fruit remarked, “Our mission, Wholesome to the Core, it’s not just words.” Zirkle continued, “We are a small, tightknit community and in times like these Wholesome to the Core extends beyond Rainier Fruit. It is a call to do the right thing by our neighbors and something as small as keeping our kids healthy in a time of uncertainty is always the right thing to do.”

In addition to the more than 12,000 Jazz apples donated to the Selah School District, Rainier and T&G are also working with local logistics providers in Seattle and Portland to make similar donations to schools in other regional communities.  

Partnering with non-profit food provider
Harvest Sensations® announced a new partnership with World Harvest, a non-profit organization that provides food, basic staples and living essentials to the needy and those who are at risk of hunger. 

Damarys Mora Crawford, head of marketing at Harvest Sensations, who initiated the partnership says: "World Harvest is doing great things in our LA community and it goes beyond the food bank. They have a zero-waste policy, so they either compost the food that doesn’t get donated to families or it goes to the LA Zoo. This made the partnership even more unique because it supports our sustainability goals," Damarys said. Glen Curado, the founder and CEO of World Harvest, said they are part of the LA emergency preparedness team, so even with the shutdown, they can continue to feed families and have been feeding 40-50 families per hour. 
"We want to be able to give back in every way we can," said Tom Travers, President of Harvest Sensations®.  "We know our associates are struggling right now to find basic food essentials. Therefore, we gave each associate a 'Harvest Box' with items such as potatoes, asparagus, green beans, oranges, carrots and more."
Harvest Sensations® has also been working with similar food banks in Miami such as Feeding South Florida, United Way and Farm Share. Harvest will continue providing produce-filled boxes to their LA and Miami associates for as long as possible.

One million bananas donated
Chiquita is acting as a ‘Good Neighbor’ and providing relief to families across the U.S. during these unprecedented times. Through partnerships with organizations including Feeding America, the YMCA and various hospitals and school districts, Chiquita has donated one million bananas to vulnerable populations such as children and seniors who have been greatly impacted by food shortages. Additionally, Chiquita has removed Miss Chiquita from the Blue Sticker logo for the first time in history, leading by example and encouraging Americans to stay home and safe during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“At the heart of Chiquita, we are farmers and banana growers who recognize our responsibility to provide nutritious bananas to people facing food insecurity during these uncertain times,” said Chiquita’s President Carlos Lopez Flores.

Chiquita is providing its nutritious bananas to various organizations, including: Feeding America(R) and its member food banks such as the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, the YMCA, several school districts in the Greater Los Angeles County including Los Angeles Unified School District, several hospitals including Jackson Memorial and various non-profit organizations including Lotus House, Fresh Point, Camillus House and Flipany.

Chiquita is also offering safe, at-home activities on its website. They are offering a variety of interactive online puzzles, games and recipes for families in need of activities while at home, which can be found here.

For more information:
Blake Belknap
Rainier Fruit Company
Tel: +1 (509) 697-6309

Damarys Mora Crawford  
Harvest Sensations®
Tel: +1 (305) 591-8173


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