2016 Holiday Charity Highlights from the Produce Alliance Team!

A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OUR PA MEMBERS FOR CONTRIBUTING YOUR TIME AND CHARITABLE EFFORTS DURING THE HOLIDAYS & THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.

Please take a moment to look at the collection of charitable efforts that our PA Members were a part of in 2016. 

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  • This November the Produce Alliance Chicago team went to The Talking Farm in Skokie, IL and volunteered their time by building new grow rows, moving mulch and cutting back the brush to allow for more room to plant. The Talking Farm makes a BIG impact on the community by providing produce to local restaurants and families. The Chicago Downtown office also partnered with Get Fresh Produce Inc. in helping to collectively pack 10,192 lbs - 45 totes - 501 cases (20lbs each) at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
  • The Produce Alliance team in Nashville volunteered at the Safe Haven Family Shelter preparing and serving dinner to approximately 40 residents (children and adults). They also participated at the Safe Haven Hike for the Homeless event. This event raises funds and awareness for homeless families in the Metro Nashville and surrounding areas. As a group they helped by serving food and handing out t-shirts to the hikers. Later in the month, they went to the Second Harvest Food Bank to sort and pack donated food and/or food backpacks for children in need; They sorted 5,889 lbs of food which will provide 4,991 meals.
  • The PA Office in Buffalo Grove collected stuffed animals for Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago with the goal of giving each child who is an inpatient a stuffed animal to provide a little bit of comfort and cheerfulness during their hospital stay. Lurie Children’s Hospital strives to provide high quality, family centered care to every child that needs it, regardless of income or insurance status. Many families are not able to provide the little extras that can make a hospital stay more homelike. This donation provides that little something extra. The delivery of the stuffed animals was made on December 12th.
  • PA in Salinas volunteered their time this holiday season at local churches, hospitals and youth organizations.  
  • The PA Atlanta Office volunteered with Meals by Grace in Cumming, Georgia to distribute non-perishable food items to families in need. Meals by Grace partners with local school systems to identify children that are hungry and suffer from food insecurity. Meals by Grace meets weekly to create, prepare and deliver a hot nutritious meal and additional food items to families in need with limited or unreliable transportation. They also provide a full service pantry on Tuesday and Thursday for community members in need that have some form of transportation. While the hot meals program is focused exclusively on children recommended to by the Forsyth County School Social Workers, the pantry is open to anyone with a self-declared need.

  •  This holiday season Sid Wainer held cooking classes in their test kitchen for the public; All proceeds from the classes went to hunger relief organizations. They also hosted a James Beard Dinner at their farm where the proceeds went to the James Beard Foundation which supports grants and scholarships for culinary students. Additionally, Sid Wainer partnered with The Marion Institute on an initiative called Grow Education, an innovative incubator for social change located in Massachusetts which regularly hosts events focused in improving the health and welfare of communities. Together they work with the city of New Bedford, Massachusetts to build communal garden plots at the schools around the city. Sid Wainer is always actively teaching students and families how to use the vegetables in the gardens through cooking demos.
  • Black River Produce makes significant monetary and produce charitable donations throughout the year to countless organizations.
  • During the month of October LaGrasso Brothers collected money for Breast Cancer Awareness. Each person who donated $10 will received a T-shirt that says “Save the Melons.”  They had a landslide of participation by their employees and the community. 
  • This November Brothers Produce of Dallas worked with the North Texas Food Bank on three different levels that made a big impact.  In November, their office staff donated time during the weekend packing up boxes for the Food Bank. They later held a canned food drive where any employee who brought in at least 20 cans of vegetables received one extra PTO for 2017, with an overall goal of 3000 cans. (What an incentive!!). The third level involved providing transportation assistance for the North Texas Food Bank to collect can goods from their drop stations. In addition to their time at the Food Bank they posted the “Save the Melons” LaGrasso Brother’s campaign flyer in order to join efforts in collecting donations.
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  • Kegel’s Produce has been busy supporting their community. They have been involved with Toys for Tots for the past several years collecting toys. Last year they had a team of employees help with the toy distribution. Additionally, they help St. Anne’s Church by providing produce for their Christmas Day dinner for the homeless. Another holiday event they are very happy to help with each year is the Lancaster City, Pennsylvania Christmas Eve food boxes distribution. For the past 5 years Kegel’s Produce has supplied fruit for the boxes that are passed out to families in Lancaster. Lastly, Kenny Myers serves as the chairman for the 2016 Lancaster Heart Walk, which benefits the American Heart Association - American Stroke Association.  Kegel’s Produce provided corporate sponsorship and heart healthy snack donations throughout the year as well as at the walk.  Under Kenny’s leadership, they were able to reach great fundraising goals!
  • J. Ambrogi Foods is an amazing supporter of the Make a Wish Foundation, a non-profit that arranges special experiences for children with life threatening diseases. For the past decade they have generously donated every December to this foundation. It is something that they plan to continue doing for the years to come!
  • In November Joe Granato Produce participated in the 5th Annual benefit for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital called Savannah's Song for St. Jude. Donors allow families whom seek treatment for their children at St. Jude’s to never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.
  •  In the month of October Sirna & Sons raised money as well as designed shirts for Breast Cancer Awareness. All sales from the shirts were donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising breast cancer awareness on a national level, and on all fronts, including research, community health, global outreach and public policy. Sirna is always developing new and creative ideas to help their community each year.
  • FreshPack Produce contributes charitable donations to several non-profit organizations. A few that they worked with throughout the year are H.O.P.E Ministries, We Don’t Waste, Denver Food Rescue, Compassion Food Bank Relay for Life, Toys for Tots - Toy Drive and countless others.
  • During the year Gulf Coast Produce helped  to collect a large monetary donation and organized a shipment of fresh produce when the tragic flooding hit the Gulf Coast region of Louisiana. Christi Alise presented a check, on behalf of Gulf Coast, to Yes I Can Ministries to assist in the recovery of this natural disaster. 
  • Central Illinois Produce donates their time and contributions to numerous charities throughout the year. They consistently donate to their local hospitals, the Newman Center at the University of Illinois, Boys and Girls Club of Champaign County, March of Dimes chef's auction, and to their local Boy Scout troop.

Looking to the Future in 2017

Katsiroubas Brothers Wholesale Fruit & Produce put all of their efforts this past year towards The Nick Katsiroubas Foundation which is working to support CureAHC. They are hosting a family symposium in Boston, July of 2017. Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood (AHC) is a rare neurological disorder that affects 1 in 1,000,000 children around the world causing paralysis spells and overall complications and delays. CureAHC supports families and funds medical research focused on finding a cure. A dear friend of the Katsiroubas Family suffers from AHC. James Hufnagel is 3 years old and was diagnosed in 2013 with this disease. There is currently no cure or treatment. The Katsiroubas Family stands by our dear pal James as he fights his daily battle with bouts of paralysis and tremendous muscle pain.

The Cure AHC symposium in Boston will be an opportunity for families of AHC and doctors to come together to discuss new therapies, research advancements and provide support. The Foundation would like to make a sizable financial donation to defray costs to families of children with AHC to have the ability to attend the symposium.