By Pia Hinckle
During the 2011 holiday season, generous FruitGuys’ customers provided thousands of people fresh fruit at 22 community-based organizations across the country.
“The produce donation went over very well this holiday season! We handed out the product in our Grocery Center to our HIV/AIDS clients as an extra special holiday treat,” said Mike Coughlin, purchasing manager at Project Open Hand in San Francisco. “They were thrilled to receive such high quality produce of a variety we don’t normally see here. They absolutely loved the bananas. Years ago we always had bananas available to our clients, but with a steady increase in pricing this is something we can no longer offer on a regular basis.”
Charities ranging from regional food banks to homeless shelters to those that support seniors and people with serious illnesses received from 16 to nearly 3,000 servings of fruit. The FruitGuys Donate-A-Crate program allows clients to pick a charity group in their region and send their fruit to it rather than cancel deliveries during the holidays.
During the months of November, December, and early January, 130 companies forwarded 232 crates, ranging from 16-piece boxes to 100+ bananas, totaling more than 8,000 piece of fruit.
“We have the most amazing customers in the world. This year we had a 15% increase in the amount of produce donated to organizations and people in need during the holidays,” said FruitGuys CEO & founder Chris Mittelstaedt. “On behalf of all the charities that you helped, thank you.”
The Donate-A-Crate program is just one part of the company’s GoodWorks program, which provides weekly donations to food pantries in San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia (more than 300,000 pounds in 2011) and its Farm Steward program, which promotes environmental stewardship and small farm sustainability through micro-loans, grants, and donations of owl and bat boxes, plants, and bees.
Staffers reported that their clients were thrilled with the fruit.
“Everyone enjoyed the fruit! Thank you for sending,” said Chef Godfrey Peters, of the Jackie Robinson Senior Center in New York.
“It was such a pleasure to have quality fresh fruit and vegetables on a semi-regular basis during the holidays, which made for a wonderful and healthy alternative to the plethora of holiday sweets that were bestowed upon our organization,” said Ken Sommer, Director of Advancement at George Mark Children’s House, a San Leandro, CA-based non-profit that serves families with children who have serious medical illnesses.
Additional charities that received fruit included The Greater Chicago Food Depository, Family House, Inc., YEAH!, Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, Launch Out into the Deep Christian Center, Greater Boston Food Bank, Preston’s Paradise, Dayspring Center, Westside Food Bank, UMOM New Day Centers Inc., SHARE-Philadelphia, SHARE-D.C., Westie Rescue of OC and Beyond, Atlantic City Rescue Mission, Family House, Loaves and Fishes, Philabundance, and Bethany Homeless Shelter.