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Opal Apple 'Youth Make a Difference' initiative doubles funding for 2015

FirstFruits Marketing, growers of the Opal apple, is seeking applications from nonprofit organizations to benefit from 2014-15 Opal sales as part of the "Youth Make a Difference" initiative, a campaign designed to provide financial support to causes led by youth ages 6 to 25.

For the third consecutive year, the incredible demand for Opal apple has allowed FirstFruits Marketing to allocate funds for youth-led initiatives that address issues in food insecurity, nutrition, agriculture, food politics or food education. Non-profit organizations and school-based entities can apply for funding, totaling approximately $150,000, at opalapples.com from Jan. 6 until Feb. 28. In 2014, FirstFruits distributed $75,000 in Youth Make a Difference grants.

"Many children experience hunger, malnutrition or obesity, but very few understand where their food is sourced or how it is grown," Suzanne Broetje, executive director, Vista Hermosa Foundation, Broetje Orchards, said in a press release. "With the Youth Make a Difference campaign, we hope to inspire the next generation to make a real difference in their communities on issues like hunger and healthy eating, the politics of food distribution, and the importance of community service."

FirstFruits will evaluate all 2015 Youth Make a Difference applicants against a set of criteria before posting finalists at opalapples.com. Beginning May 4, consumers are invited to visit the website and vote for their favorite initiatives. In July, FirstFruits plans to award funding to multiple youth-led charities based on consumer votes and consistency with criteria. Criteria, nomination guidelines and funding details are available online.