Each year, The FruitGuys GoodWorks program supports people, projects, and good health from the field to the table, and 2013 was a record year for giving. In keeping with the long-held tradition of providing healthy food to those who might not otherwise have access to it, The FruitGuys donated more than 616,000 pounds of produce to charitable organizations across the country through weekly donations to food pantries in San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Phoenix.
And The FruitGuys wasn’t the only one doing the giving: clients donated their scheduled fruit deliveries during the holiday season to charities through the company’s annual Donate-a-Crate drive. This year, FruitGuys’ customers forwarded a whopping 19,000 servings of fruit to non-profit organizations serving their communities.
“The first time I saw a teen grab a plum from The FruitGuys in our Teen Activity Program, I was overcome with joy! How great to see the fresh fruit just waiting to be consumed by our residents,” said Sharon Pederson, Resource Development Manager at UMOM New Day Centers in Phoenix, one of the non-profit organizations that received donated fruit.
UMOM’s mission is to prevent and end homelessness with innovative strategies and housing solutions that meet the unique needs of each family and individual. “We have approximately 131 families that reside on our campus at any given time, and all of these families have children. We will have served over 6,000 people by the end of our fiscal year, and because of the weekly donation we receive, The FruitGuys produce will have been available to all of them,” said Pederson.
Tobi Aclaro is the program director of Grandma’s House of Hope in Anaheim, CA, where the mission is to provide compassionate and uplifting care to women, children, and families in need. She said getting The FruitGuys donation has been a treat since homeless and at-risk families cannot often afford fresh fruit. “It’s important for them to have access to nutritious foods, and fruit is very healthy. It’s easy to cut and easy to prepare—which is important because many of our families live in situations where they don’t have access to stoves or cooktops.”
San Francisco CA
Charities in 2013 that received fruit through either weekly FruitGuys direct donations or from FruitGuys’ clients via the Donate-A-Crate program included St. Anthony’s Foundation, Project Open Hand, Family House, Inc., and George Mark Children’s House, in San Francisco. Grandma’s House of Hope and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank in the Los Angeles area; UMOM New Day Center and His Kingdom Ministries in Phoenix; in the Chicago area, the Better Boys Foundation and Launch Out into the Deep Cornerstone Christian Center; Boston’s Greater Boston Food Bank; Philadelphia’s Philabundance food bank; and St. Vincent de Paul community services in Baltimore.
“The exceptional support of the companies we serve, and their generosity through either direct donations via our Donate-a-Crate program or through their business with us that allows us to donate on their behalf, is what makes this happen,” said FruitGuys Founder and CEO Chris Mittelstaedt. “The commitment that our employees display every day to making our GoodWorks program happen and the results it has produced make me both proud and thankful.”
Draft horses at New Family Farm, Sebastopol CA
The FruitGuys Community Fund also provided an exciting opportunity to give back in 2013––its first full year of operation. Created in 2012, the Community Fund is a nonprofit that is a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives, an organization that provides administrative and financial support to new nonprofits. The Community Fund was created to help support smaller farms to become more economically and environmentally sustainable.
The slate of farms and projects the Fund supported in 2013 reflects its mission:
New Family Farm in Sebastopol, CA, received a grant to purchase a new manure spreader to more efficiently fertilize the soil.
Red Heart Ranch in Finley, CA, received a grant to install solar-powered irrigation and build a hoop house.
Snipes Family Farm & Education Center in Morrisville, PA, received a grant to purchase fencing to add livestock onto their farm, helping to diversify the farm’s income and holdings.
SAGE Ag-Park in Sunol, CA, received a grant for plantings that attract and support pollinator insects to its seven small supported farms and community garden plots.
Two Gander Farm in Downingtown, PA, received a grant to expand their high tunnel, which will extend their growing season.
At Snipes Family Farm, Head Herdswoman Toria Harr explained how the Community Fund grant benefitted the farm: “The grant gave us the opportunity to comfortably start a new business venture that has made the existing businesses of vegetable agriculture and farm education tremendously more meaningful and sustainable.”
The Fund is accepting applications for its 2014 grant cycle until February 15, 2014. Grantees will be announced in April 2014.
Want to support The Community Fund’s mission to support small family farms? Donate here.
Miriam Wolf is a Portland-based wellness coach, writer, and editor.