The FruitGuys has been making produce donations since it started back in 1998, but in 2016, the company set a new record, donating more than 2 million servings of fruit and produce to those in need via food banks and charities that help the hungry in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, and New York areas.
The FruitGuys GoodWorks Program supports small farms and fights hunger through direct donations of produce from our warehouses and from generous FruitGuys clients via our Donate-a-Crate program. The nonprofit arm of the program, The FruitGuys Community Fund, which last year awarded more than $40,000 to 10 farms across the country, supports sustainable agriculture through its annual grant program.
“I’m extremely grateful to our clients and proud of our staff who allow us to make donations to people who are truly in need,” said FruitGuys CEO Chris Mittelstaedt. “We have consciously chosen to donate produce that doesn’t meet visual inspection standards in order to help people.”
Donations by the Numbers
Direct Donations: More than 2 million servings (1 million pounds) of fresh fruit reached charitable organizations across the country through The FruitGuys’ weekly donations.
Donate-a-Crate: FruitGuys clients generously forwarded their holiday-scheduled fruit deliveries to charities through our Donate-a-Crate program. Clients donated 673 crates, totaling more than 26,000 servings of fruit, to nonprofit organizations serving their local communities, such as Project Open Hand in San Francisco, a nonprofit that delivers food and meals to seniors and the seriously ill.
“Thank you for all of the produce you sent us over the holidays. The produce came at a perfect time,” says Michael McCormick, Project Open Hand’s grocery center operations manager. “During the holidays we often don’t have enough produce to offer a wider selection to our clients. Your produce arrived just as we were about to reduce that amount of selection. As a result, our clients had the full variety, as well as mixed fruit bags as an extra.”
Ten Farms Awarded Sustainability Grants
The FruitGuys Community Fund, a nonprofit, fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives, awarded 10 small farms a total of $40,133 for sustainable agriculture projects in California, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Their projects range from organic cover crops and urban orchards to owl box and beehive installations.
The 2016 grantees are: Buffalo Street Farm in Detroit, MI; Butterbee Farm in Pikesville, MD; Canvas Ranch in Petaluma, CA; Casa Rosa Farms in Woodland, CA; FARM Davis in Davis, CA; From the Ground Up Farms in Chico, CA; Sunnyside Farm in Dover, PA; Troy Community Farm in Madison, WI; Turtle Creek Gardens in Delavan, WI; Two Boots Farm in Hampstead, MD.
“Thanks to our $2,133 grant for a natural pest control project, we have had far less damage to our crops this summer,” says Robyn Waxman, executive director of FARM Davis. “A giant pomegranate tree that was completely decimated last year is still in great shape this year with zero rat damage,” she continues. Hear her talk about the impact of their grant in this video.
The FruitGuys Community Fund is one of the only small grant programs available to farmers. Click here to donate. Want to get involved? Volunteer for our Grant Review Committee and help decide which sustainability projects get funded in 2017.
CEO Chris Mittelstaedt says the company hopes to continue to break its own records.
“We have been making donations since we started the business in 1998, and I’m proud that we continue to grow both our business and our donation program.”
Sheila Cassani is GoodWorks Ambassador for The FruitGuys.