Every day is apple day in Rice Fruit Company’s world, but on October 21st the fall favorite is spotlighted for all of America on National Apple Day. This day falls right in the middle of peak apple harvest, when the abundance of a new crop is celebrated, packing lines are humming and farmers are busiest in the best of ways. Rice Fruit Company makes it possible for many disadvantaged people in our local community to celebrate this day by eating an apple, and not just for one day. A donation of over 700 pounds of apples per week to South Central Community Action Programs provides a reliable source of healthy, sweet treats for their clients.
Lori Mitchell, SCCAP’s gleaning coordinator, explains how important the reliability of this weekly donation is for their food programs. “Since the nature of gleaning is often unpredictable, we can always count on giving fresh fruit to our partners. The apples are distributed to senior centers, meals on wheels, food pantries, after-school and backpack programs. Because of our partnership with Rice, we are able to offer fresh apples to our partners.”
This became even more important when the COVID-19 pandemic created a need for some consumers to receive food in their homes. Mitchell adds, “We worked with Wellspan, a local health system, for families who had to get their food delivered directly to their homes due to the COVID crisis. We were able to provide produce including apples.”
Food security is a particular philanthropic interest for Rice Fruit, but the donations do more than just make the company feel good about helping its neighbors. Donations of fresh produce give people the opportunity to make nutritious choices, and hopefully develop healthy buying habits that follow them as future consumers. As one recipient said, “So helpful and it definitely increased our healthy habits.”