Food banks around the New Orleans area, the Gulf Coast and Florida received large donations of fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables to distribute to their food-insecure patrons, thanks to the generosity of fresh produce companies who wrapped up Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Fresh Summit Convention & Expo last week in New Orleans, La.
Hundreds of companies exhibiting at the fresh produce and floral industry’s premier convention and trade show donated 312,490 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana, and to food banks serving hurricane victims in the Gulf Coast and Florida. Floral exhibitors donated flowers and potted plants for distribution to food bank agencies for local hospitals.
The donation is the single largest contribution of fresh produce that Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana will receive this year. The food bank leads the fight against hunger in south Louisiana, providing food to 582 partners and programs across 23 parishes; it is the largest anti-hunger network in the state. It is also a member of the national Feeding America® network of food banks.
This year, in addition to the planned annual donation to the local food bank where Fresh Summit is held, PMA partnered with Feeding America to send donated produce to Gulf Coast and Florida food banks to aid hurricane victims
“We’re so honored to receive this amazing gift from the exhibitors at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Convention & Expo,” said Second Harvest of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana Food Sourcing Manager Megan Nuismer. “Finding high-quality produce for those we serve is sometimes a challenge, and this donation will help us feed thousands of our neighbors in need across Louisiana. And ten trucks of this produce will be delivered by Feeding America to victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida.”
The Houston Food Bank and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida are two of the organizations that will distribute donations.
“Now more than ever, Houston Food Bank is relying on the help of the community to take care of our neighbors in need,” says Brian Greene, Houston Food Bank President. “We thank the Produce Marketing Association and its compassionate members for the generosity to Houston Food Bank and the people we serve. Having access to produce can be a challenge for people in need, therefore donations like this is vital to our community.”
“The most vulnerable people in our community are still trying to regain their footing after Hurricane Irma,” said Dave Krepcho, President & CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. “We are thankful that the Produce Marketing Association is remembering our community’s situation with a donation of truckloads of fresh show-quality fruits and vegetables,” added Krepcho.
Fresh Summit exhibitors also had the option to send extra produce earmarked specifically for donation to hurricane victims. Exhibitors and attendees could also make cash donations to any of the food banks affiliated with Feeding America.
“After the expo closes, one of the most awe-inspiring aspects of Fresh Summit is our exhibitors’ generous donation of produce and floral items to the local food bank network,” said PMA CEO Cathy Burns. “It is really humbling to see their continued generosity each year, and to be a part of an industry that works so hard to help individuals and communities in need.”
Each year Fresh Summit exhibitors donate between 250,000 and 300,000 pounds of fresh produce and floral to benefit thousands of residents facing hunger in the region.
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