NEW ORLEANS — Fruits and vegetables from salad bars in New Orleans schools will help children learn healthier eating habits at home, according to an administrator whose students benefit from donated salad bars.

Andrea Thomas-Reynolds, chief executive officer of Algiers Charter Schools Association, was one of several New Orleans school officials thanking the United Fresh Produce Association May 3 for the donation of 33 salad bars to local schools.

“We are so grateful and we really appreciate your willingness and excitement to work with us,” Thomas Reynolds said at a news conference on the donations during United Fresh 2011.

The donation, which will provide 80,000 children in New Orleans with fresh fruits and vegetables, was possible through industry donations to the United Fresh Foundation’s Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative.

Lorelei Disogra, vice president of nutrition and health for United Fresh, said she has enjoyed working with New Orleans school officials over the last year. The association had already given 10 salad bars to schools in the city before today’s event.

“It touches our hearts to be here today and donate another 33 salad bars to this great city,” she said. “(This city) will be the leader in salad bars for the whole country.”

The event on the show floor brought representatives of the schools and 26 donor companies together.

United Fresh is a founding partner of the national salad bar initiative, which has a goal of donating salad bars to 6,000 schools in the next three years.

“Last year I had the great honor of being with first lady Michelle Obama and watch a salad bar being installed in a Miami school to launch this new campaign,” said Steffanie Smith, United Fresh chairwoman and chief executive officer of River Point Farms, Hermiston, Ore.

School leaders offer thanks for donation of salad bars

Tom Karst

New Orleans students help themselves to fresh produce from a salad bar at United Fresh 2011 May 3.

School leaders offer thanks for donation of salad bars

Tom Karst

Industry members representing companies that made possible salad bar donations to New Orleans schools join students at United Fresh 2011 May 3.

“We know that salad bars can significantly increase childrens’ consumption of fruits and vegetables and the produce industry is certainly excited to do this and benefit the children of our host city” Smith said.

The United Fresh Foundation has donated salad bars to more than 100 schools in 12 states and the District of Columbia.

Claudia Wenzing, vice president of business development of United Fresh, Washington, D.C., helped to raise funds for the salad bars. The foundation has established a goal of delivering 1,000 salad bars to schools.

According to the association, these companies and individuals donated to the New Orleans program:

  • The Andrew Smith Co.;
  • Apio Inc.;
  • Bonipak Produce;
  • C.H. Robinson Worldwide;
  • Cambro Manufacturing Co.;
  • Capitol City Produce;
  • Chiquita Brands International;
  • Ciruli Bros.;
  • Del Monte Fresh Produce;
  • Dennis and Susi Gertmenian;
  • DMA Solutions;
  • Dole Food Co.;
  • DuPont Crop Protection;
  • Emeril Lagasse Foundation;
  • Horton Fruit Co.;
  • Mann Packing Co.;
  • Marie’s;
  • McEntire Produce;
  • Muir Copper Canyon Farms;
  • The National Watermelon Association;
  • Pero Family Farms;
  • The Produce Exchange;
  • Stemilt Growers;
  • Taylor Farms;
  • Tom Lange Co.; and
  • True Organic Product