Volunteers Rescue over 250,000 Pounds of Fresh Produce

Food banks around Orlando and the Florida Panhandle will receive large donations of fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables in the following days to distribute to their food-insecure patrons, thanks to the generosity of the record-breaking number of fresh produce companies who exhibited at Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Fresh Summit Convention & Expo last week in Orlando, Florida.  

Hundreds of exhibiting companies at the fresh produce and floral industry’s leading convention and trade show donated 250,531 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, and to food banks serving hurricane victims in the Florida Panhandle. The food was donated directly from the show floor at the Orange County Convention Center.

“The Orange County Convention Center staff takes great pride in hosting shows that want to leave Central Florida a better place than when they arrived,” said Yulita Osuba, the Center’s Deputy Director. “Knowing that these donations will not only go to locals in need, but to our fellow Floridians in the Panhandle, only furthers the reach of our sustainability mission here at the Center of Hospitality.” 

 Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida works to close the gap of unmet need in Central Florida by feeding, empowering, nourishing and engaging the community to help end hunger. The food bank partners with 550 feeding partners in Central Florida, including emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, senior centers, daycares and more. 

Last year PMA partnered with Feeding America to send donated produce to Gulf Coast and Florida food banks to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey. This year, PMA is partnering with Feeding America again to send additional donated produce to victims of Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle.  

“We are so pleased to receive this gift from the exhibitors at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Convention & Expo and members of the fresh produce and floral supply chain,” said President and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida Dave Krepcho. “1 in 6 Central Floridians are struggling with the reality of hunger and Second Harvest’s mission is to help close that gap. This donation will help us do that with healthy, nutritious, fresh tasting food.”  

“This industry has a longstanding history of helping those individuals and communities in need, especially those affected by natural disasters we’ve seen the past two years,” said PMA CEO Cathy Burns. “Once again, Fresh Summit exhibitors have answered the call and generously donated multiple trailer loads of fresh produce and floral items to local food banks and other relief agencies. It’s incredible to see this happen every year and I’m proud to be a part of their efforts to grow a healthier world.” 

Each year Fresh Summit exhibitors donate between 250,000 and 300,000 pounds of fresh produce and floral to benefit thousands of residents facing hunger in the region. 

To find opportunities to volunteer for future food rescues, visit www.feedhopenow.org/volunteer

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