United Fresh Start Foundation Awards $25,000 Through COVID-19 Donation Program to Help Kids and Families

The United Fresh Start Foundation has infused the fresh produce industry with 25 $1,000 COVID-19 Rapid Response FRESH Grants to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for children and families in need, while also creating opportunities for foodservice distributors experiencing lost markets due to the restaurant, hospitality, and school shutdowns.

“During this time of crisis, we’re honored to be able to ensure that 25 more communities will have access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Lisa McNeece, Vice President, Foodservice and Industrial Sales, Grimmway Enterprises, Inc., and Chair of the United Fresh Start Foundation Board of Trustees. “We praise all of the companies across the supply chain working within their communities to broaden access to fresh fruits and vegetables, despite their own economic hardships.”

The 25 grant recipients will provide fresh fruits and vegetables to children and families in need, reaching them in schools, community centers, and other emergency feeding sites.

Grant recipient DNO Produce will donate fresh produce to hundreds who are served by the organization Communities in Schools, working with the Southwest City Schools, in Grove City, OH.

“When you know what the right thing to do is, it is important that you move forward and do it wholeheartedly–that’s what DNO Produce always strives to do,” added Alex DiNovo, President and COO, DNO Produce.

Another grant recipient, Brothers Produce of Dallas, Inc. has committed fresh produce donations to hundreds of families that are part of the local community served by Range Elementary School in Mesquite, TX.

“Our community has been very appreciative of the fresh produce donations,” said Jose Monreal, Finance/HR Director, Brothers Produce of Dallas, Inc. “We are so glad to be able to provide our underserved community with access to fresh fruits and vegetables to help ease their burden of bringing food to the table.”

Zafar Produce Inc., located near Binghamton, New York, used their grant funds to help serve hundreds through their local food bank.

“The Food Bank of Hudson Valley was ecstatic to receive our bananas, lettuce, broccoli, strawberries, and avocados,” said Tom Brandt, Director of Real Estate, Zafar Produce Inc. “We’re thrilled that we took advantage of this opportunity to give back to our local community and we will be looking for additional opportunities to serve them in the future.”

This program is funded through the generosity of those individuals who have agreed to donate their prepaid registration fees for the United Fresh 2020 Convention in San Diego to the United Fresh Start Foundation. Additional donations will allow the Foundation to build upon its efforts to support companies with fresh produce donations to those in need. Make your donation here to ensure kids are growing up fresh!

Congratulations to these 25 COVID-19 Rapid Response FRESH Grants recipients and the organizations and schools receiving their fresh produce donations:

Grant recipient Organization/school district receiving fresh produce donation
AeroFarms, Newark, NJ Tablet to Table
Aloha Produce Foodservices, Bend, OR The Giving Plate, The Shephard’s House Ministries, Council on Aging, and Co Veterans
AM Fresh North America Inc., Glassboro, NJ Glassboro Food Bank
Ark Foods Group, Inc., Brooklyn, NY


City Harvest
Bonanza Produce Company, Sparks, NV Reno Sparks Gospel Mission
Brothers Produce of Dallas, Inc., Dallas, TX Range Elementary (Mesquite, TX)
DNO Produce, Columbus, OH Communities in Schools, Southwest City Schools, Grove City, OH
Freshway Produce, Inc., Atlanta, GA Feeding South Florida
Indianhead Foodservice, Eau Claire, WI Chippewa Falls Area School District
J&J Produce Company, Inc., Hattiesburg, MS Lamar County School District, Petal School District, Forrest School District, Hattiesburg Public School District
J.H. Honeycutt & Sons Inc., Chadbourn, NC Food Bank Central & Eastern North Carolina
Kimball & Thompson Produce Co., Inc, Lowell, AR Arkansas Foodbank
Lancaster Foods, Jessup, MD ALIVE! Food Program (Alexandria VA)
Limehouse Produce, North Charleston, SC Lowcountry Food Bank
Miller Farms, Clinton, MD Capital Area Food Bank (Washington, DC)
Potato Specialty Co, Inc, Lubbock, TX Lubbock Impact
Preferred Produce, Detroit, MI Motor City Mitten Mission
Pure Flavor, Leamington, Ontario Peach County Schools
Sirna & Sons Produce, Ravenna, OH Center of Hope
Southern Colorado Farms, Center, CO Care and Share Food Banks
Specialty Produce, Inc, San Diego, CA San Diego Food Bank
Tropical Sourcing LLC, Livingston, NJ Morris County Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce
Willie Itule Produce, Phoenix, AZ St. Mary’s Food Bank
Worden Farm, Punta Gorda, FL All Faiths Food Bank, Boys and Girls Club Sarasota County and Charlotte County
Zafar Produce Inc, Windsor, NY Food Bank of the Hudson Valley


“We’re proud to continue bringing community members and the supply chain together to break down the barriers that impact access to fresh produce during this extraordinary time,” said Tom Stenzel, President & CEO, United Fresh.

Visit www.unitedfreshstart.org for complete details on the COVID-19 Rapid Response FRESH Grants program.

For more information, contact Mollie Van Lieu, Senior Director of Nutrition Policy at 202-303-3403 or mvanlieu@unitedfresh.org.