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FirstFruits Marketing in Yakima, WA, and its growers are kicking off the fall apple season by giving back with the Take A Bite Out of Hunger campaign that aims to donate 1 million apples to food banks throughout the United States.

"This is an amazing gift that comes at a critical time," Jason Luke Clark, executive director of Second Harvest Inland Northwest and a board member of Feeding America, said in a Sept. 29 press release. “Our organization alone serves over 200 food banks, and more than 40 percent of our clients are children and another 10 percent are seniors. First Fruits is making it possible to get fresh apples into the hands of those who need it most, and we are grateful for this new program.”

From October through January, specially marked bags of FirstFruits apples will feature special graphics highlighting information on the Take A Bite Out of Hunger program and education about hunger in America.

The promotion is available to all retailers throughout the United States and is timed to coincide with holiday food drives.

For each case of apples purchased by retailers or each bag of apples purchased by consumers, FirstFruits will donate 1 apple to local food banks. Retailers can gain additional donations for their local food banks by displaying in-store point-of-sale materials, hosting display contests or promoting the program in their in-store ads.

Consumers will also have the opportunity to further support the program by purchasing virtual apples through the FirstFruits web site to increase the total food bank contributions.

The program is supported with promotionally themed packaging and supplementary materials that include high-graphic display bins, posters and sign cards upon retailer request.

Andy Tudor, director of marketing for FirstFruits Marketing, added in the press release, “The FirstFruits organization and its growers are committed to sustainable programs that support communities and individuals. It seemed only natural to develop a program with a clear emphasis on giving back by supporting food banks around the country. We hope the success of this program will act as a benchmark for future cause-marketing efforts and reinforce the belief that consumers also want to do good.”