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Produce industry donates more than 17,000 pounds to Monterey County food bank

This past weekend, the fresh produce industry showed its commitment to alleviating childhood obesity through healthy food choices with a 17,141-pound fresh produce donation to the Food Bank of Monterey County after the annual PMA Foodservice Conference & Expo.

One-fifth of the population of Monterey County now receives food assistance — 90,000 residents annually, up from 55,300 in 2005, according to reports produced by the food bank.Untitled-1Following the PMA Foodservice Conference & Expo, the fresh produce industry donated 17,141-pounds of fresh produce to the Food Bank of Monterey County.

“Here in Monterey County, over 20 percent of the population struggles with hunger, including 1 in 4 children,” Melissa Kendrick, executive director of the Food Bank for Monterey County, said in a press release. “As the 'Salad bowl of America,' we could not accomplish what we do without the generous support of the ag community in our fight against hunger.”

The show's exhibitors have been donating fresh produce to the county as a result of the show for more than 15 years.

“The produce industry is in a unique position to give back,” Barbara Keckler, marketing manager for Potandon Produce and PMA Exhibitor Advisory Committee member, said in the release. “The exhibitors who came together to donate fresh, healthy product to those in need did a good thing this weekend, and I’m proud to know it’ll make a difference in Monterey County.”