The holiday season got off to a nice start following this year’s PMA Fresh Summit in Anaheim, CA, with expo exhibitors donating some 228,400 pounds of fresh produce to that city’s Second Harvest Food Bank.
Started in 1983, the collaboration between PMA and food banks in Fresh Summit host cities has provided millions of pounds of fresh produce to feed those in need. A PMA release said, “In the last 14 years alone, PMA has facilitated post-Fresh Summit donations of over four million pounds of fresh produce.”
The Orange County Second Harvest Food Bank, which helps more than a quarter-million individuals and families each month, received the large donation of fresh fruits and vegetables collected at the show floor of the Anaheim Convention Center by Second Harvest volunteers.
Harald Herrmann, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, said the organization “truly appreciates the partnership and support of the Produce Marketing Association and the produce industry, collaborating to achieve one of the largest produce rescue operations in our food bank’s history. In total, 228,400 pounds of fresh, premium produce went to feed the hungry in Orange County and surrounding counties while ensuring none of it had to go to waste.” He went on to say, “It was amazing for our team to see 24 trucks rolling in with a total of 576 pallets that we distributed to our 300-plus community partners who then provided it to those who need it most in record time!”
Jason Hatcher, Senior Sourcing Manager for the Orange County Second Harvest, added, “Produce is nourishment. The produce industry knows this best and, by partnering together, we can ensure that it reaches the lives of everyone in our community—and none of it has to go to waste.”
Hatcher said the donation was the equivalent of 190,365 meals.
A member of Feeding America’s nationwide hunger-relief network, Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County is the largest nonprofit hunger relief organization in Orange County and distributes donated, purchased and prepared foods through its network of more than 300 community and program partners like church and school pantries, senior centers, Boys and Girls Clubs, Kids Cafes, and shelters for abused women and children.
The vast selection of products donated by Fresh Summit exhibitors “may result in people’s first time trying new produce varieties and experiencing the deliciously unmatched taste of fruits and vegetables at peak freshness,” a PMA release said. And PMA CEO Cathy Burns said, “Each year’s Second Harvest donation at Fresh Summit represents a longstanding tradition among the fresh produce industry of helping individuals and communities in need. It’s an expression of this industry’s commitment to growing a healthier world and an expression of the industry’s commitment to sustainability knowing high quality, healthy food will nourish people rather than go to waste.”