The FoodWorks Fund: Fighting Hunger & Helping Small Farms
The FruitGuys has created a new non-profit project to support its long-standing hunger relief mission. The FoodWorks Fund, a fiscally-sponsored project of Community Initiatives, provides direct hunger relief by donating fresh fruit and vegetables to people in need and helping small farms hurt by the crisis.
For 22 years, The FruitGuys has been sending fruit donations to food banks and charities. (See our 20-Year Impact Report) All of our nearly 100 community partners have told us they are experiencing unprecedented demand for food during this pandemic. The FoodWorks Fund was created to help food banks and food pantries serve people facing hunger, many of whom have never been food insecure before, by providing boxes with a week’s worth of fresh fruits and vegetables. By including some of their produce in these boxes, donations also help small farms who have lost business due to the COVID crisis. For example, the September FoodWorks Fund boxes will include oranges from Bernard Ranches, for whom we created a special box to help his farm with sales.
How it Works
Each month, the Fund will take the donations from the prior month and turn them into two whole food options to distribute to hunger relief partners:
Fruit & Vegetable Household Box: 18-20 lb box with mixed fruits and vegetables that can feed a household of 4-5 people for a week. This will be the main product and be delivered to partners that are serving households with kitchens and clients who are more likely to arrive by car to pick up this box.
- Grab n’ Go Individual Bag of mixed fruit: 3-5 pieces of fruit to easily hand out for partners serving unhoused populations or single people.
Each box costs roughly $25-$35 to source, produce, and deliver to hunger relief partners. The FruitGuys makes no profit on these boxes and the fund is overseen by Community Initiatives, a 501c3, that verifies the non-profit requirements of this project.
Who are our Community Partners?
You can view all of our nearly 100 current Community Partners on the Fighting Hunger Page by Type (Food Banks and Charities, School Meal Sites, healthcare workers/hospitals), Program (Donate-a-Crate, FoodWorks, The FruitGuys Donations), or Region (SF Bay Area, LA, New York City, Philadelphia, Dallas, Denver, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Phoenix, Seattle, Texas, Washington DC). Community partners include both well-known food banks and smaller charities and faith-based groups that distribute food in their communities. While we try to deliver food to the food banks and school meal distribution sites closest to you, we reserve the right to send it to ones that need it most to prevent food waste and promote equity.
Meeting the Crisis
At the outset of the pandemic, office fruit delivery clients asked The FruitGuys to send gifts of healthy food to hospitals and healthcare workers, school meal distribution sites, and food banks. Many FruitGuys clients, such as Salesforce and ROI-DNA, and hundreds of individuals contributed more than 500,000 servings of fruit between March-July 2020 through the Fruit for Heroes campaign. The FoodWorks Fund is the next step in the evolution of The FruitGuys efforts to fight hunger.
The FruitGuys Fighting Hunger initiatives include:
- The FruitGuys Weekly Donations: the company donates all visually imperfect and excess fruit and vegetables to community partners near our 14 regional facilities rather than sell them on the secondary market. More than 15 million servings have been donated since 1998.
- The FoodWorks Fund relies on donors to support the existing food bank system. Donations are 100% tax deductible. Each month donations are turned into 18-20 lb fruit and vegetable boxes (and/or bagged fruit) and sent to our community partners who distribute them to those in need.
- FG Client-powered programs to fight hunger include:
- Donate-A-Crate program where FG clients forward their existing orders of fruit boxes to a charity in their community by contacting customer service. Since 2009, generous clients have donated more than 260,000 servings of fruit.
- Gifts. When clients send gifts, they can choose the product (from bulk items to standard mix boxes), the organization (school, NGO, food bank, etc, as long as they have a contact), and the frequency (one-time or recurring).
- Sponsorships. Clients can form a community sponsorship through regular donations of a product of their choice to a community organization such as a school, NGO, or food bank.
How to Help
The FruitGuys is asking corporate clients and individuals to make recurring donations to The FoodWorks Fund to help hungry Americans in their time of need.
“As a mission-driven business that has always had hunger relief as part of its goals, the creation of the non-profit FoodWorks Fund is a natural evolution for us,” said Chris Mittelstaedt, founder & CEO of The FruitGuys. “The hunger crisis in America is real and getting worse. A lot of small farms are hurting too because businesses that buy from them have slowed down, or shut down, during COVID. We want to be part of the solution to both of these problems.”
The FruitGuys has the capacity to produce hundreds of thousands of these fruit & vegetable boxes each month but we can’t get food to this many people without your financial support. Please consider making a recurring donation in whatever amount you are able.
Your donation brings healthy farm fresh food to hungry individuals, kids, and seniors through our national network of nearly 100 community partner organizations in regions across the country.