New Zealand-based Zespri International Ltd., a large grower-shipper-marketer of kiwifruit which has an office in Redwood City, Calif., has launched its Kiwifruit for Kids back-to-school program, the company said in a news release.

It’s one of several Zespri initiatives designed to fight childhood obesity, the company said.

The campaign, launched for its second year Sept. 10, has chosen the following children’s health charities to represent the six regions of the U.S.:

  • Treeswing, Seattle;
  • Chicago Run, Chicago;
  • iCAN Foundation, New Orleans;
  • Play Rugby USA, New York;
  • Louie’s Kids, Charleston, S.C.; and
  • Live Well Colorado, Denver.

Each charity’s mission is aligned with Zespri’s objective “to educate American children how to eat well and live active lifestyles,” the company said.

The campaign, now available on Facebook and a microsite,, asks people to earn points for the charity and/or region of their choice by answering health trivia questions, exercising their kiwifruit characters daily, checking in to participating supermarkets via Facebook, exercising for an hour per day, and more.

The charity that earns the most points by the end of the campaign, Oct. 21, wins $10,000 from Zespri.

The runner-up receives $5,000, and the remaining four charities earn $1,500 for participating.

“Given that September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, this is the perfect time to send that message home,” Margaux Rathbun, a nutritional therapy practitioner and campaign spokeswoman, said in the news release.

Supermarkets across the U.S. also are participating in the campaign, with point-of-sale signage and staff trained on the messaging of the campaign.