(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — Crowley Logistics joined Caribbean Produce Exchange Inc. (CPE), the leading Puerto Rico distributor of fresh produce and consumer products, and Puerto Rico farmers to ship a container filled with fresh fruits, plantains and other “Son de Aquí” local products to the Puerto Rican and Hispanic communities of New York City impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The container included 16,000 pounds of fruit and produce, such as pineapples from Manatí, Santa Isabel papayas and Guánica green plantains. The shipment arrived for distribution through Baldor Specialty Foods’ facility in the South Bronx. The food will be distributed to seniors and low-income families and at community centers that serve vulnerable populations in the city through a partnership with City Harvest, a nonprofit food rescue mission. In addition, employees who work as first-line responders for Baldor and other first-responders will be receiving fresh produce as part of this donation.
The container, provided and shipped from San Juan, Puerto Rico, by Crowley Logistics, which is the island’s longest serving U.S. shipping and logistics solutions company and part of Crowley Maritime Corp., also included a variety of Wana Bana tropical fruit purees ideal for children, senior citizens and people with diabetic conditions. These products are 100 percent natural, pasteurized and sugar-free, allowing for non-refrigerated storage. The container arrived on Crowley’s container ship M/V Taino in Jacksonville, Fla., and was trucked this weekend into New York City for distribution to people in need.
“Crowley has always striven 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. “We know we all need to work together to help each other in response to COVID-19, so it was our pleasure to transport the donated fruits and produce from CPE to Baldor Foods on our LNG-powered ship, M/V Taino, from Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland.”
“We want to thank our allies in this initiative for helping us bring the flavors, colors and freshness of our farms to the Bronx area at a time when these communities are experiencing an unprecedented crisis. Given the challenges we are facing with the coronavirus, keeping our citizens properly nourished can help strengthen their immune systems and this is a top priority. Thanks to this phenomenal synergy along with Baldor Foods and Crowley Maritime, we have been able to bring hope, strength and embrace our Puerto Rican brothers in New York with genuine solidarity,” said Angel Santiago, president and CEO of CPE.
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 a wide array of nonprofit entities 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 are grateful at Baldor Specialty Foods for the kind gesture of Caribbean Produce to send to us a shipment of delicious fruit from Puerto Rico,” said Baldor’s Thomas McQuillan, vice president for strategy, culture and sustainability. “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.”
As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, CPE has been helping farmers sell their products including fruits, vegetables, dairy products and protein throughout non-traditional channels and other platforms, as a consequence of the quarantine lockdown and curfew ordered by the local government. The lockdown closed schools and cafeterias as well as restaurants and hundreds of food service locations that have been forced to close temporarily also. All of this has impacted the harvests and sales of fresh produce on the Island. According to Santiago, this support program to farmers has yielded in opening doors and providing effective solutions for fresh produce placement in new trade channels.