Produce for Kids changes charities, starts Kids Club

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Produce for Kids is changing its primary charitable partner to Feeding America and is starting a kids club to help parents shop for healthy food.

During a Feb. 27 reception at the Southeast Produce Council’s Southern Exposure conference and exposition, Produce for Kids officials announced the organization is ending its partnership with Children’s Miracle Network.

Feeding America is an organization the produce industry knows well and a cause that resonates with the industry, said Produce for Kids president and founder John Shuman, president of Reidsville, Ga.-based Shuman Produce Inc.

“Feeding America is a great fit with Produce for Kids’ mission and vision,” he said. “It’s hard to believe that in a nation as wealthy and as prosperous as the U.S., that there are so many food insecure children in our communities. We look forward to supporting Feeding America and driving support to their organization.”

Greg Higgerson, vice president of development at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, said fruits and vegetables are a challenge for low-income families and said the partnership should help food banks across the U.S.

“On the surface, our community (Orlando) looks affluent but we have thousands struggling to make ends meet,” he said. “If kids don’t get the right nutrition often enough on the front end, all bets are off in terms of realizing your genetic potential. Whatever your role is in making Produce for Kids a successful endeavor through the course the year, whatever part you play in that, I hope you feel good about it because it’s making a tremendous difference.”

This spring, Produce for Kids plans to introduce Produce for Kids Club. Shoppers who who buy featured products at participating stores can join at a yet-to-be-launched produceforkidsclub.com by entering a code on their receipt.

The club provides families access to healthy eating “welcome kits” as well as online activities and meal planning resources.

In 2014, the campaign generated more than $476,000. Since its 2002 founding, has raised more than $5 million in donations for children’s charities.

Participating retailers include Acme Markets Inc., Malvern, Pa.; Kansas City, Kan.-based Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc.’s Major Savings, Advantage, Independent, Country Mart, Homeland and United divisions; C&S Wholesale Grocers, Hatfield, Mass.; Giant Food Stores Inc., Carlisle, Pa.; Meijer Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.; Niemann Foods Inc., Pana, Ill.; Price Chopper, Schenectady, N.Y.; Publix Supermarkets Inc., Lakeland, Fla.; and Roundy’s Inc., Pewaukee, Wis.

Source: The Packer by Doug Ohlemeier

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