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Caribbean Produce Exchange lands ‘Farmers to Families Food Box Program’ contract

Puerto Rican consumer food and fresh food distributor, Caribbean Produce Exchange Inc., announced the creation of a coalition of multiple food industry sectors and the local Agriculture Department to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Farmers to Families Food Box Program.”

Through the initiative, the coalition will use $107 million in grant funding to deliver 1.2 million boxes of food to support farmers and families facing food shortages in their homes as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.

The project will also create 200 jobs in several operational phases during its six-week run, officials said.

The boxes average 40 lbs. and are being distributed through a wide network of community entities and nonprofit organizations. The initiative has the potential to benefit 1,200,000 families through the weekly distribution of 200,000 boxes. A range of entities have joined the effort, including the United Way, Iniciativa Comunitaria, Sor Isolina Ferré Centers, Banco Popular Foundation and MMM Foundation, as well as church entities, elderly homes, and community projects, among others.

As the coordinating company, CPE will provide combined boxes of fresh foods including protein, vegetables, fruits, root vegetables, dairy products and eggs, which will be purchased from local and stateside farmers, as well as from other local companies.

“This project represents a great responsibility because we are moved by two great forces: First, the commitment to support our farmers and colleagues in the food industry, who have suffered a huge blow from this emergency,” said CPE President Ángel R. Santiago.

“The other vital factor is hunger, which doesn’t wait and causes greater damage to our people. This allocation allows us to nourish the island with fresh products and provide better food. It also helps reduce the impact on health conditions and the prevalence of diseases that affect our citizens, such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and obesity,” he said.

The agricultural sector in general has experienced dramatic losses due to the total shutdown of the economy and businesses on the island, including hotels, restaurants, chains, agricultural markets and the school cafeteria program, among others, causing multi-million losses.

Similarly, hundreds of thousands of families financially affected by the emergency have become unemployed and are going hungry as they have no resources to buy food for their homes, as reported.

The USDA awarded contracts to multiple suppliers in the continental United States and Puerto Rico. Locally, several companies in the food industry received fund allocations. To maximize the positive impact of the $107 million, CPE has extended collaboration ties with land and maritime transportation companies, importers, meat, chicken and pork processing plants, distributors and food processing companies, agricultural unions, supermarkets and chains.

Marie Estela Cestero, chief development and communications Officer at the Sor Isolina Ferré Centers said the nonprofit will be delivering food boxes to communities in Ponce, Guayama, Juana Díaz, Guayanilla, Peñuelas, Salinas, Santa Isabel, Caimito and Canóvanas.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.


  1. Maydalise Plaza June 10, 2020

    Can you help adjuntas PR with food boxes

  2. Jacqueline June 26, 2020

    Cuando entrega en patillas

  3. Jacky July 25, 2020

    Cuando llega un troz a arroyo me perdido 3ya

  4. Dorcas Avila Hernandez August 5, 2020

    Buenas tardes como puedo hacer para poder recibir un camión para bendecir a una comunidad. Soy líder laico de la Iglesia Metodista de Los Ángeles en Carolina. Deje mi correo electrónico para poder recibir contestación. Gracias.

  5. David O Serrano Perez August 16, 2020

    Informacion de como obtner cajas de alimento para el pueblo de Florida.

  6. Maria de l suarez maldonado September 9, 2020

    Cuándo repartiran cajas de alimentos en Guaynabo.

  7. Maria Quinones September 23, 2020

    Saludos, cuál es el procedimiento a seguir para ayudar una comunidad, gracias

  8. Edna September 28, 2020

    Cuando entregan en corozal.fui hace como 3 semanas.me tomaron información.mía y del vecino que me llevo 2familias.cuando llegamos luego de ponernos en la lista nos dijeron que sólo una para vecino.y que no habían más .no para mi familia por que tomaron el nombre primero como si me la vi b iesen entregado.al mirar al lado estaban llenando un baúl de una gratuita con más de 7 cajas.pueden avisarme fecha de nueva entrega soy mayor incapa c citada con os confío chino iones me d icas familia 3 y otra paciente cáncer esposo 90& ciego y su mamá 79 años.por fav o r AVI seme día yo b buscaré quién nos lleve.gracias


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