A host of food-insecure residents of central Florida will receive fresh fruits and vegetables in the days and weeks ahead, thanks to a generous donation from exhibitors who just wrapped up Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) largest-ever expo. The fruits and vegetables are being donated by hundreds of companies who exhibited at PMA’s Fresh Summit Convention & Expo held this past weekend in Orlando.
Exhibitors donated 258,815 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida—an Orlando-based nonprofit organization that collects, stores and distributes donated food to more than 550 feeding partners in six central Florida counties.
“The Produce Marketing Association donation represents the single largest donation of fresh fruits and vegetables our food bank has ever received at one time,” said Dave Krepcho, president/CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.
The food bank is a member of Feeding America, a national network of more than 200 food banks that help feed people across the country. In 2015, 14 percent of Americans were living in poverty, including 20 percent of children under age 18, according to the most recent government statistics on poverty.
Krepcho said, “It’s not only the massive amount of the donation, but the highly nutritious nature of the products that are the real payoff for our families in need. These are exactly the kinds of healthy food items they struggle to afford on a daily basis.”
The food bank’s feeding partners include emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, shelter programs, senior programs and more. Last year, Second Harvest provided 50 million meals to families, kids and seniors in central Florida. According to the organization, the majority of it left the warehouse dock in the back of vans, trailers, pick-ups, box trucks and other vehicles and was often in the hands of people in need later the same day.
“Feeding Florida’s statewide network of food banks works every day in every community to provide fresh produce to those facing hunger in our state,” said Robin Safley, executive director of Feeding Florida. “We are so appreciative of the PMA exhibitors for donating hundreds of thousands of pounds of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables to our member food bank, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Donations like this allow our Feeding Florida network to provide food to the 3.3 million hungry Floridians, including 1.1 million children and 700,000 seniors.”
Since 2004, PMA exhibitors have donated more than 3.5 million pounds of fresh produce to communities in need in the U.S.