The Port is a family of partners, all working together for a common cause. The community that surrounds each of our facilities is part of this family too, because their support makes our success possible. So, when a member of that family is suffering, we all pitch in to help.
Last week at the Red Hook Container Terminal, RHCT, President Mike Stamatis and one of its partners, a food importer based in Queens, N. Y., put their heads together when they saw the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on the economy and the ability of nearby communities to get fresh food. Redi Fresh Produce President Peter Malo had a suggestion: Let’s donate two incoming shipping containers of pineapples to the neighborhoods around the terminal.
“This community has supported us so much, we just wanted to do something to give back,” Stamatis said.
Port trucking partner MTC Transportation and ILA workers at the terminal worked together to unload the pineapples – 20,000 total in the two containers – sort, palletize and put them on a truck for delivery to local community food groups. One container was delivered to City Harvest, which distributed the fruits to five food pantries and community organizations in the Gowanus and Sunset Park neighborhoods. The second container of pineapples was delivered by MTC Transportation volunteers to various over a dozen food banks and houses of worship in nearby Red Hook, and some were distributed in fresh produce boxes that were available for local pickup at the gates of the terminal in time for the Easter and Passover holiday weekend.
Redi Fresh Produce also donated a third container of pineapples that arrived last week at the Brooklyn terminal. RHCT, which also has a facility in Newark, donated another 10,000 pineapples last Friday to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ) in Hillside, N.J. CFBNJ works with over 1,000 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters to reach people in need across the state.
The fruits made their “warehouse smell amazing,” said CFBNJ’s communications manager Nicole Williams, who added that the produce would be distributed this week to the community.
RHCT’s Stamatis said the pineapples won’t be the only produce donation coming from Red Hook. Two other RHCT partners E. Armata, Inc. and Exp Group, LLC, both distributors based at the Hunts Point Market in the Bronx, will be donating apples and oranges.
The pandemic and the related panic-buying have put enormous pressure on local food banks around the country. In the spirit of helping all families, Port of New York & New Jersey has identified a list of community food groups in need of assistance. Should any other port partners like to make similar donations, please contact Amanda Valdes at [email protected].
From our family to yours, thank you and stay safe.