From apples to personal protective equipment, produce companies continue to reach out and provide donations to those in need. “In times of crisis, food offers more than nourishment, it gives comfort. It is our honor to give some small comfort to neighbors who are hurting,” said Jennifer Parkhill of Next Big Thing, A Growers’ Cooperative.
Apples donated coast to coast
SweeTango growers from Nova Scotia and New York state to Washington state, and Michigan in between, have so far donated more than 100,000 apples to food banks serving communities hard hit by COVID-19.
Fowler Farms in Wolcott, N.Y., donated more than 100,000 SweeTangos to Foodlink, Inc., which supplies food to pantries across the state. Applewood Fresh Growers in Sparta, Mich., has donated apples to help feed children who don’t have access to school meals due to the crisis, and to Feeding America to distribute to food-insecure Michiganders.
Stemilt has partnered with Rotary First Harvest to provide fruit that is distributed regionally through Northwest Harvest Food Banks. Scotian Gold in Coldbrook, Nova Scotia, Canada, has donated apples to groups including Feed Nova Scotia and Open Arms, which supply fresh foods to those in isolation with health risks, and to families now facing food insecurity.
46,000-lbs+ organic produce donated in Northwest
To help meet the surge in demand for food assistance during the COVID-19 response, organic produce growers donated more than 46,000-lbs of nourishing fruits and vegetables for five Northwest-based hunger relief agencies. Organically Grown Company, based in Portland and Eugene, organized this mass donation.
In early April, OGC, an organic wholesale produce company, launched a giving initiative called “Project HOPE” (Healthy Organic Produce for Everyone) with 15 vendor-partners who quickly and generously responded with product donations. Project HOPE’s goal: to get fresh organic produce to the hundreds of thousands of Northwest residents facing food insecurity because of COVID-19 related job loss, school closures, and other hardships.
Soon after, pallets of freshly harvested citrus, berries, apples, mangos, greens, potatoes and more filled the company’s Portland warehouse. All donations were quickly dispatched by OGC to appreciative teams at Northwest Harvest, Oregon Food Bank, Portland Sunshine Division, Food for Lane County and the Relief Nursery. OGC also served Oregon Food Bank as a ready resource when the agency needed a logistics partner to quickly store and transport nearly 100 pallets of empty boxes destined for food boxes.
“OGC knew we could help by doing what we do best, and that is ‘bring organic produce to the people’ and, in this case, to communities who currently need it most,” said Kristi Yoder, senior sales manager at Organically Grown Company. “We are humbled by and extremely grateful for the outpouring of generosity from our grower-partners, and for the hard work being done by farm workers, foodbanks, grocery store clerks, truck drivers, health care professionals, public servants and many others who are on the front lines every day, keeping us all safe, healthy and nourished.”
OGC sees its farmer/vendor community as heroes for coming together to help during this crisis and for their rapid outpouring of support for Northwest communities. Donors included: Driscoll’s, Deardorff Family Farms, Crespo Organic Mangoes, Covilli Brand Organics, Wholesum Harvest, Grimmway Farms, Fruit World, Bridges Organic Produce, Agri-Star, Nunes-Foxy Organic, A&A Organic Farms, Jacobs Farm-Del Cabo, Braga Fresh Family Farms, Homegrown Organic Farms and Domex Superfresh Growers.
Donations extend to Latin America
Dole Food Company announced that in an effort to help with the COVID-19 crisis, Dole and its associated growers have so far donated more than two million pounds of fresh produce to recipients along its supply chain, from local food banks in the U.S. to the communities in Latin America.
In the US, Dole has donated in cities throughout the country such as San Diego, New York, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Houston, Los Angeles.
In Latin America, where Dole grows its tropical fruits, such as bananas and pineapple, the crisis is also hitting hard, and the company is supporting those rural communities where food security is most at risk. In the Aguan Valley of Honduras, for example, in addition to fruit Dole is distributing household staples such as rice, beans and cooking oil to employees and local communities. Beyond food, the company is also providing masks, sanitizing gel, testing kits and other health supporting supplies. Similar support is happening for communities in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala and Colombia including the provision of over 15,000 personal hygiene kits to aid in the prevention of infection.