PA Foundation


PA Foundation

The PA Foundation


The PA Foundation is composed of both monetary efforts and/or supplies donated to a collective foundation for purpose of contributing to a charitable cause.


First Annual Jerry Ambrogi Charity Dinner


$ 45,000

(Charity Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens, 501 (c)(3))

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This past year a very special member of the Produce Alliance community passed away. On March 15, 2017 the First Annual Jerry Ambrogi Charity Dinner was held at the Produce Alliance National Conference in order to take the time to remember and celebrate the incredible man he was. Those that spent time speaking to Jerry, learned about his knowledge of produce, love for football, and tremendous heart.  It was not until after his passing that we learned of the great impact that he made on his community and his philanthropic efforts.

Some of the causes near and dear to Jerry Ambrogi's heart were Make a Wish Foundation, Archmere Academy (his alam mater), and the Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens (DFRC). For the First Annual Charity dinner we selected DFRC as the featured charity. We asked them to tell us what Jerry meant to them, and this was their response: 

DFRC was the featured charity for the 2017 First Annual Jerry Ambrogi Charity Dinner. We asked them to tell us what Jerry meant to them and this was their response: For more than 20 years, Jerry Ambrogi was a pillar of love and commitment to the DFRC family, an organization whose mission is to raise funds and awareness for Delawareans with intellectual disABILITIES

Whether it was as a 4-time coach for the DFRC Blue-Gold All Star Football Game, 6 years as the game’s athletics chairperson, or 10 years as the game’s senior advisor, Jerry’s unwavering passion for the program’s beneficiaries was an inspiration to all.  As a result of his endless commitment to the cause, Jerry was selected by his coaching peers as head coach of DFRC’s 50th anniversary game in 2005. 

As a senior advisor to DFRC, Jerry continually offered valuable advice and guidance.  He was a strong advocate of our Hand-In-Hand program, which matches game participants with children and young adults who have an intellectual disability, and supported that love very generously as a major donor throughout his 20 years with DFRC.

As many already know, Jerry had a smile that lit every room he entered, and that sparkle was second only to his enormous heart, which he shared freely and unconditionally.  The DFRC family lost one of our dearest and best friends when Jerry passed.  His life touched literally thousands of people, young and old, and his legacy will live on in the hearts of all who knew and loved him.

In the philanthropic spirit that Jerry lived by, we at Produce Alliance would like to honor all the efforts and causes each one of you do for your communities. 

If you feel so inclined to make a charitable donation,

please contact Alison Blake at alison.blake@producealliance.com

We base our community involvement on the idea that we’re all part of something much larger than ourselves. It’s about inspiring each one of us to do more, to foster our care for each other, and in that way contribute positively to the world around us.
— Driscoll's

PA Cares

PA Cares

2016 Holiday Charity Highlights from the Produce Alliance Team!


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.


Hurricane Harvey Help

Hurricane Harvey Help

A Community Outreach for those Impacted by Harvey

Dear Produce Alliance Community,

Today we sadly watch as Hurricane Harvey continues to ravage the residents of the entire Southeast Texas region. As this area continues to suffer under catastrophic and life-threatening flood conditions, we are reaching out to you as members of the Produce Alliance community to help us collaborate with Brent Erenwert (President of Brothers Produce – Houston, one of Produce Alliance’s Member houses), and our own Barbara Hulick, Produce Alliance’s Director of Food Safety, who is also based out of Houston.  As they witness first-hand the devastation, displacement and fear that are up-ending their neighborhoods, we’ve asked Barb and Brent to guide us in understanding how we can best provide meaningful help. 

Barb and Brent’s real-time updates have shone the light on the specific needs of their communities, which are losing homes, schools, and livelihoods by the hour.  As levees are breaking, and families are forced out, Barb and Brent are seeking the best on the ground support for their communities, and have asked for our help.  As a result, Produce Alliance is seeking contributions which will be made directly into the communities most impacted by this devastating weather event; Brent and Barbara are providing us with invaluable insight into the community organizations best situated to provide an immediate lifeline to those most deeply displaced. 

Please consider making a contribution to this emergency fund by electronic payment to the PA Foundation through the link below.  The PA Foundation is Produce Alliance’s charitable foundation created to gather monetary resources and supplies of all types for the purpose of supporting those in need.  Produce Alliance and the PA Foundation will continue to work directly with Brent and Barb to establish the best possible local uses for these funds to sustain life and re-structure communities.  Please know that all donors will be apprised of a detailed accounting of exactly how these contributions are being put to use to help those in the most imminent need.  

Please consider helping in any way you can.  As Brent and Barbara can attest, the damage is ongoing and the need is desperate. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Melissa Melshenker Ackerman at (847) 738-2253


The Houston Food Bank has reached out to the entire Produce Alliance network for immediate help.  Judy Henrichson, Agriculture Industry Manager of the Houston Food Bank contacted Produce Alliance this afternoon, seeking donations of product and monetary assistance for the 600 agencies it services across Houston and 18 counties in the region.  She describes their need as desperate; please read on to see how you can help.
Due to the dire nature of this widespread crisis, Judy has asked that we encourage direct contributions to this organization - http://www.houstonfoodbank.org/get-involved/harvey-disaster-relief/.  The Houston Food Bank is a fully accredited 501(c)(3) entity able to provide any documentation needed, including receipts to all donors.  Judy has urged us to share this opportunity to donate not only monetary support, but also fresh produce of all kinds.   Federal Tax incentives for produce donations have been published by the federal government and can be provided if you need them.  Additionally, if you would like assistance with the logistics of getting product to the Houston Food Bank, you can reach out directly

Judy Henrichsen
Houston Food Bank
Office: (713) 547- 8673
Direct: (832) 731-9436

Brent Erenwert
President of Brothers Produce
(713) 924-4038
(281) 830-6323

Brent will be available to assist in getting product to Judy and the facilities she manages. 

Produce Alliance has been moved to action to support this community based organization and has made a $5,000 direct donation to keep Houston area citizens sustained until conditions improve.  While the PA Foundation is still working to combat this crisis, donating to the Houston Food Bank directly is an easy way to get help immediately where it needs to be.  We know our PA community is always first in line to help; please consider making a direct donation to this worthwhile organization.

Source: New York Times

As many have already heard, an enormous and powerful storm swept through Houston, TX and the surrounding region this past week. This sparked a series of catastrophic flooding, serious damages and injuries, and according to the New York Times and National Weather Service, killed at least 13 people. 

Unfortunately, those affected included some of our PA family. We will be providing weather and produce updates until further notice.

8/29 Weather Update: It's moving, and is offshore. It won't strengthen much offshore. More heavy rain is ahead. There is an end in sight. River flooding will last for days, perhaps weeks.


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PA Foundation comes together to supportOrlando Tragedy #PrayForOrlando

PA Foundation comes together to supportOrlando Tragedy


PA Foundation supported Gulf Coast Produce to raise awareness and provide donations for flooding on the Gulf Coast Region. 


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Brighter Bites

Brighter Bites

2017 Partnership with Brighter Bites 


At Produce Alliance, we value our community. Recently our newest partnership with Brighter Bites reflects that passion.

Brighter Bites is an organization that provides reliable access to fresh produce, nutrition, education and consistent exposure to recipes.

At our 2017 PA PMA Cocktail Reception, Lisa Helfman, co-founder of Brighter Bites, spoke and gave more insight into the value of service in the community.

PA is excited about playing an integral part in Brighter Bite's end goal of expanding their network beyond the Texas region.