Caribbean Produce Exchange Inc. joined forces with a group of local farmers to export a container full of fresh fruits, plantains and other “Son de Aquí” local products to the Puerto Rican and Hispanic communities of South Bronx affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of CPE’s social commitment and mission to nurture families with high quality foods, 16,000 pounds of local fresh fruit and produce, including pineapples from Manatí, Santa Isabel papayas, and Guánica green plantains, arrived Sunday afternoon from Puerto Rico to Baldor Specialty Foods’ facility in the South Bronx.
The donation will be distributed to senior citizens, low-income families and community centers that serve vulnerable populations in the city, according to the company through a partnership with City Harvest.
In addition, employees who work as first-line responders for Baldor, as well as other first-responders will also be receiving fresh produce as part of this donation, the company said.
“Given the spread COVID-19 has had in New York City and its health and socio-economic impact on low-income families, we wanted to extend our support and solidarity by integrating Puerto Rican tropical fruits, with all its flavors and freshness as part of our social commitment efforts,” said Ángel Santiago, president of CPE.
“This initiative has been possible thanks to several companies that immediately agreed to be a part of the mission and share hope with our brothers in New York who are facing the ravages of this pandemic as well as support from the New York State Office of Trade and the Puerto Rico Tourism Co.,” he said.
Crowley Logistics provided and shipped the container from San Juan that also included a variety of Wana Bana tropical fruit purées for children, senior citizens and people with diabetic conditions, as these products are 100% natural, pasteurized and sugar free, allowing for non-refrigerated storage.
The container arrived on the container ship MV Taíno in Jacksonville, Florida this week and was immediately trucked into New York City, the companies confirmed.
“Crowley has always strived to help people in the communities in which we live, work and serve, and this partnership continues the longstanding commitment by the company and our employees,” said Sal Menoyo, Crowley Logistics vice president for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
Baldor Specialty Foods, headquartered in the South Bronx, is one of the largest importers and distributors of fresh produce and specialty foods in the Northeast.
Baldor Cares, the company’s social responsibility platform, works with nonprofits such as City Harvest in New York, to provide food for hundreds of thousands of citizens in need throughout the tri-state area annually.
“We will share this produce with our colleagues at Baldor and with people living in the South Bronx. So many of our neighbors hail from the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. It is heartwarming to know that people can be so generous during a time of crisis and uncertainty,” said Thomas McQuillan, vice president, strategy, culture and sustainability for Baldor Cares.