John Shuman says he feels blessed to have been able to work with the Produce for Kids program for the past 10 seasons.


Produce for Kids is celebrating its 10th campaign with its biggest-ever spring promotion, said Shuman, founder and president.


The “Get Healthy, Give Hope” campaign kicks off this month and continues into June. Sixteen retail chains across the country agreed to participate and more than 65 produce companies are sponsoring the program.


“Produce for Kids has been well received by the produce industry,” Shuman said. “Without our retail partners and our produce sponsors, it would not have grown to this level of success.”


Produce for Kids has raised and donated a total of $3.1 million to children’s charities, said Shuman who also is president of onion grower-shipper Shuman Produce Inc., Reidsville, Ga.


Eight to 10 produce companies sponsor the campaign in each store, with every sponsor having its own produce category. Retailers agree to participate for a minimum of 30 days in May and June.


Produce for Kids point-of-sale materials include display units and Ideal Meal cards. Each retail location will receive a total of 300 each of a dozen Ideal Meal recipe cards that can be placed in display units, Shuman said. The recipes incorporate all of the produce from sponsoring companies.


Quick-response codes appear on point-of-sale materials so shoppers can scan them with smartphones and have their browsers directed to additional online information.


Sponsors share the costs of bringing the promotion to markets, and each sponsor will make a per-unit-sold donation to Children’s Miracle Network. All funds will be contributed to local children’s hospitals, Shuman said.


In addition to helping children’s charities, the Produce for Kids program helps retailers promote produce throughout their entire departments, provides opportunities for publicity and marketing for retailers and sponsors, adds incremental sales and helps retailers and produce companies connect with local communities, Shuman said.


The spring campaign is timed to coincide with the Network’s annual telethon, Shuman said. This year’s telethon is scheduled for June 3-5, according to the Network’s website.


Shuman said he and his wife founded Produce for Kids after their son had a short stay in a children’s hospital. It was where they learned about Children’s Miracle Network, a children’s hospitals charity. Shuman said there were many grocery stores already supporting the Network, but there were no promotions specific to the produce department.


“Our son inspired us to create a charitable outreach program,” Shuman said. “We just wanted to create something that would give back to the community and make an impact beyond just the growing and selling of sweet onions.”