CHARLOTTE, N.C.- Dole Food Company announced today that in an effort to help with the COVID-19 crisis, Dole and its associated growers have so far donated more than two million pounds of fresh produce to recipients along its supply chain, from local food banks in the U.S. to the communities in Latin America.
“The virus is ruthless, and we have seen the brutal impact it has had on people—directly to their health and their income,” stated Johan Linden, CEO of Dole Food Company. “We want to answer the needs of the communities around our operations and do what we can to strengthen them during this moment of hardship.”
Dole recognizes these donations alone will not solve the food needs issue brought on by the coronavirus, but believes that we should all do what we can to help those around us. Dole is committed to continuing these efforts during this crisis.
Vince Hall, CEO of Feeding San Diego, an organization whose mission is to connect every person facing hunger with nutritious meals, shared his comments on Dole’s actions.
“While medical providers and first responders battle the COVID-19 crisis, Feeding San Diego is battling unprecedented hunger across San Diego County. One of our most important allies in this fight is Dole Food Company, a significant employer at the Port of San Diego. Dole continues to regularly donate large amounts of nutritious fresh fruit, especially bananas, which are very popular in the community and contribute to good health. Dole is to be commended for helping Feeding San Diego take care of those in need all year round, but especially during the current health crisis.”
In addition to San Diego, Dole has made donations in other U.S. cities including New York, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Houston, Los Angeles.
In Latin America, where Dole grows its tropical fruits, such as bananas and pineapple, the crisis is also hitting hard, and the company is supporting those rural communities where food security is most at risk. In the Aguan Valley of Honduras, for example, in addition to fruit Dole is distributing household staples such as rice, beans and cooking oil to employees and local communities. Beyond food, the company is also providing masks, sanitizing gel, testing kits and other health supporting supplies. Similar support is happening for communities in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala and Colombia including the provision of over 15,000 personal hygiene kits to aid in the prevention of infection.
“As an important local employer, it is our duty to support local communities. The consequences of this crisis are just starting to be felt here and the need for social support will continue to be felt in the weeks and months to come,” stated Renato Acuña, President of Dole Fresh Fruit Latin America. “Our local foundations and those of our associated producers are actively working on the ground and on the front line of this crisis, and Dole will provide additional support as long as necessary.”
The Dale Foundation, funded by Dole and its Ecuadorian growers, is using its medical staff and facilities to get the word out to the community on the importance of COVID-19 prevention, identifying high risk citizens to help them undertake the proper care, advancing purchases of medication that can help with respiratory illness, and continuing to operate its health clinics and provide remote medical services for its patients in the agricultural community.
Dole is also supporting those working on the front lines of the crisis by donating to hospitals in various countries where it operates and working with civil authorities to provide local aid.
For example, in the U.S., Dole has joined national produce distributor PRO*ACT, and other produce partners, to bring fresh produce to the tables of healthcare workers and their families during the COVID-19 crisis. The ‘Feeding our Frontlines’ program (www.producepartners.org) provides boxes of fresh produce for healthcare employees to take home at the end of a long shift as a way of saying “thank you” to those taking care of us.”
About Dole Food Company
Dole Food Company, Inc., is one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. Dole is an industry leader in many of the products it sells, as well as in nutrition education. For more information, please visit www.dole.com.