Published: Apr 07, 2011 8:04 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 07, 2011 5:04 PM EDT

MOORE HAVEN, Fla - The Harry Chapin Food Bank and its new mobile pantry distribution system delivered fresh food Thursday to Moore Haven Residents.

Chiquita Brands provided a $7,800 grant for the purchase of 45 bins to be used for transporting fresh produce to all mobile pantry sites.

The bins empower the food bank to transport fresh food to more rural areas, projecting an annual delivery of 345,600 pounds of fresh produce, which will feed 276,480 at-risk hungry children, adults, and elderly by expanding its Fresh Produce Program.  The "Stuff the Bin Project" has helped increase program distribution from under one million to more than two million pounds of food in two years. Chiquita stepped up to donate the $7,800 needed to purchase an additional 45 bins, which will assist in maintaining pace with the program's evolution.

"We commend the outstanding efforts of the Harry Chapin Food Bank as they continue to expand and innovate ways to meet the challenging demands of providing healthy, nutritious food to an increasing population in need," said Manuel Rodriguez, Chiquita senior vice president, government and international affairs and corporate responsibility officer. "This program is a perfect complement to Chiquita's mission to improve the world's nutrition, and we are pleased to support their efforts to better serve those in need."

Many families are struggling with unemployment and the most recent cold weather and freezes negatively impacted seasonal jobs, causing families to struggle to keep food on the table for their children. The Mobile Pantry project will ensure that the impoverished children, elderly, and working poor adults have access to fresh produce, which is necessary for child development, overall wellness and the reduction of obesity and other related illnesses such as Type 2 Diabetes.

The "Stuff the Bin" project is designed to cover the extensive costs associated with securing transportable bins with an average holding capacity of approximately 800 pounds of nutritional food and quality produce.