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Raley’s & Bashas’ Team Up with FirstFruits Farms to Make Record Apple Donation to California and Arizona Food Banks

April 8th, 2024

Grocery divisions invited customers to join FirstFruits Farms initiative, resulting in a nearly 58,000-pound apple donation

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Hunger and food insecurity aren’t just about empty stomachs or the worry about where the next meal will come from. Food insecurity also means limited access to quality nutrition, including nutrient-rich fruits and veggies. This spring, select Feeding America food banks in California and Arizona are able to offer more fresh produce to families experiencing food insecurity thanks to a collaborative effort that delivered nearly 58,000 pounds of apples.

Two grocery divisions that operate as part of The Raley’s Companies — Bashas’, which has grocery stores in Arizona and New Mexico, and Raley’s, which has grocery stores in California and Nevada — significantly increased their annual apple donations this year to area food banks through FirstFruits Farms’ Take a Bite Out of Hunger initiative.

Raley’s delivery of 22,660 pounds of fresh apples to Yolo Food Bank in Woodland, Calif., while Bashas’ contributed a combined 35,000 pounds of fresh apples to St. Mary’s Food Bank, United Food Bank, Yuma Community Food Bank, and Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. The two divisions’ nearly 58,000-lb. apple donation surpassed last year’s 40,000-lb. apple donation.

Customers at Raley’s and Bashas’ helped earn the sizable donations for their communities by purchasing specially marked bags of FirstFruit Farms apples during January and February. Shoppers increased their apple purchases by 44% compared to last year, which increased this year’s donation by 44% as well.

Through its annual Take a Bite Out of Hunger campaign, FirstFruits Farms aims to feed underserved families while bringing attention to the problem of food insecurity in the United States. The two grocery divisions are long-time supporters of the initiative; Raley’s has been involved since the program began in 2010, and Bashas’ has participated annually since 2018.

“Ensuring the communities we serve have access to quality nutrition is part of our mission every day, so extending that mindset by supporting local food banks is a natural extension of our business,” said Chelsea Carbahal, Vice President of  Community Impact & Public Affairs for The Raley’s Companies. “We appreciate the opportunity to align with organizations like FirstFruits that share our community focus and make our giving even more impactful.”

In California, an estimated one in 11 residents experience hunger or food insecurity, but the rate is even higher among children under 18. About 14% of California youth face food insecurity, which in turn affects numerous predictors for future success, including health and education attainment.

“During the late winter and spring months, we have a real need for fresh produce donations, which makes the contributions from Raley’s particularly meaningful,” said Karen Baker, Executive Directror of Yolo Food Bank, which received a 22,660-lb. donation of apples on March 27. “Fresh produce is an important element in our fight against hunger for the food insecure population of nearly 21,000 individuals here in Yolo County.”

In Arizona, as many as one in seven residents grapple with hunger, and about one in four children experience hunger or do not have regular access to safe, affordable, and nutritious foods.

“Perishable items like fruits and vegetables represent a relatively small portion of the contributions our food banks receive, but they’re important elements of creating well-balanced meals for families experiencing hunger,” said Milton “Milt” Liu, President and CEO of St. Mary’s Food Bank, which received 35,000 lbs. of apples on March 20. “Thanks to Bashas’ ongoing support, we’re able to extend that generosity in the form of quality nutrition.”

Since Take a Bite Out of Hunger’s inception in 2010, more than 2.5 million lbs. of fresh apples have been donated in participating retailers’ names to local food banks in their communities.

“Every community in the country is home to families who face hunger,” said Aimee Peters, Business Development Manager of FirstFruits Farms. “Even as more families face economic hardship, access nutritious, well-balanced food shouldn’t have to be a sacrifice. Teaming up with community-minded grocery stores allow us to make healthy options like apples accessible to families who need them.”



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