The Texas International Produce Association and Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley Launch the Viva Fresh Produce Pledge: “A Gift from Farms to Families”
MISSION, TX - As we all ride the high of our industry’s first in-person event of the year, Viva Fresh Expo is continuing the moment, as the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) announces a new partnership with the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley (Food Bank RGV).
“In the past year, our region has been hit hard by not only the pandemic, but also hurricanes in July, droughts in November and December, and a historic freeze in February,” said Dante Galeazzi, President and CEO of TIPA. “Businesses have absolutely suffered, but many families are suffering more. This is about Texans helping Texans and families helping families.”
Food Bank RGV’s Viva Fresh Produce Pledge, “A Gift from Farms to Families,” was announced during the keynote luncheon last week. It is a new program that will serve as a year-round collection effort of fresh produce donations to help food-insecure communities in Texas.
According to the release, participating companies can “pledge” in 2021 to provide fruits and vegetables in 2022. Whether it be a single load, multiple loads, or on a rotating basis throughout the year, TIPA and Food Bank RGV will, in turn, provide this produce to food-insecure families in the region.
“From inception, our mission for Viva Fresh has been to promote and increase consumption of fruits and vegetables,” Ed Bertaud, Director of Retail Sales for IFCO and Viva Fresh Steering Committee member, remarked. “We are proud to announce our new partnership with Food Bank RGV at this year’s Viva Fresh Expo. Additionally, these efforts align with our continued quest to cast a spotlight on the power of the Tex-Mex corridor and the nutrient-dense foods we grow and ship, as well as their ability to improve overall personal health.”
The produce pledge’s objective is to not only continue feeding vulnerable households, but also help Texas communities by giving them broader access to healthy foods. As stated by TIPA and Food Bank RGV, this initiative is not a traditional one-time donation. Both organizations plan to have this collective be an ongoing industry effort to provide a consistent and reliable source of fresh fruits and vegetables to the many clients served by the Food Bank RGV.
“As a hub of fresh produce and a health-conscious food bank, we are honored and excited to partner with an association that advocates for healthier lifestyles among its members and stakeholders,” Stuart Haniff, MHA, CEO of Food Bank RGV, commented. “We look forward to supporting Texans throughout our region with vital, delicious, and healthy produce which will strengthen our communities today and for years to come.”
Food banks across the country often have a shortage of fresh and nutritious foods. As noted in the release, a variety of research shows that food insufficiency, especially a lack of fresh produce, can lead to diseases like diabetes and heart conditions due to poor nutrition. This problem has been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this partnership, TIPA aims to alleviate the need while also spreading the benefits of fresh produce.
“Through our partnership with Food Bank RGV, we now have the opportunity to support our communities here at home by not only offering employment and economic stimulus, but by also keeping our neighbors healthy and safe,” stated Galeazzi.
Participating companies can volunteer by committing to donate a certain amount of pounds or loads in the 2022 calendar year. Interested potential partners are encouraged to contact TIPA or Food Bank RGV for more information or to join the effort.
While our industry continues to band together to spread the bounty of fresh produce to those in need, stay connected as ANUK reports.