The New England Produce Council Inc. (NEPC) held a dinner meeting at the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) on Thursday, March 14, sponsored by Dole and attended by retailers, vendors and foodservice representatives.
The day began with a volunteer group of NEPC members sorting and packing food items for member agencies in eastern Massachusetts. Anthony Sattler, SVP of C&S Wholesale and NEPC president, then welcomed the group and shared NEPC updates for this year, including the 20th year anniversary celebration of the NEPC Produce, Floral & Food Service Expo, set for Sept. 19.
“NEPC is committed to supporting hunger relief efforts” said Sattler.
The dinner meeting continued with a presentation by Chris Hill, senior director sales-Northeast & Canada for Dole Fresh Vegetables.
Points highlighted in Hill’s presentation were Dole’s new alliance with Total Produce, a Dublin-based company, and Safeway Foods of Vineland, New Jersey, the inventors of the single-serve salad. Hill added that David Murdock continues to lead the company after 45 years.
The second point was Dole’s strong partnership with Disney and third, the recent romaine issues that have led Dole to find new solutions to improve instances like this as it relates to the overall business of leafy greens. Dole is committed to working closely with the FDA, CDC and CFIA to lead these efforts.
“The experience at the food bank was awesome and can really make one think about how blessed we are and how all of us can help reach out to those in need more often than we do to make a difference. Very impressed with the staff and level of enthusiasm across all GBFB team members,” Hill said.
Another highlight of the evening was the presentation by Hill on behalf of Dole and the NEPC of a $3,000 donation to the Greater Boston Food Bank. Cheryl Schondek, SVP, received the donation. She spoke about food insecurity and thanked Dole, NEPC and the entire produce organization for the support of the mission to end hunger.
“The data is alarming: 1-in-10 residents in eastern Massachusetts is food insecure; they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. One-in-8 is a child. With your ongoing support, we can change that staggering statistic. Last year GBFB distributed over 62 million pounds of healthy food to 530-member agencies in 190 cities and towns. Over 35 percent is fresh produce. We can’t do that without this organization,” she said.
The NEPC and Dole have been partnering for more than five years hosting this dinner event at the GBFB. Over the last five years, NEPC and Dole have donated close to $30,000 in donations in addition to volunteer groups working at the GBFB.
“We look forward to this special meeting every year, and we hope to continue our partnership with Dole and the Greater Boston Food Bank,” said Laura Sullivan, NEPC executive director.