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Posted August 1, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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National Fruit contracts with feds

Stimulus money to help feed needy

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- The federal government likes "them apples" enough to send stimulus money to a local manufacturing plant.

National Fruit Product Co. Inc. in April received a contract worth $549,261 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Part of the legislation calls for the government to enter into contracts with companies to purchase food for distribution to people in need.

In this case, the feds plan to buy canned applesauce.

The ARRA "provided funds to help ensure that Americans struggling in these difficult economic times can get access to safe and nutritious food," said Caleb Weaver, press secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Messages left with the Winchester-based company were not returned.

In addition to an increase in funding for low-income recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- formerly known as food stamps -- Recovery Act funds were directed to the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program, Weaver said. TEFAP buys products for distribution to food banks, which have seen a significant increase in demand since the start of the economic downturn last year, according to Weaver.

Among the foods purchased for the TEFAP program with ARRA funds was applesauce. National Fruit was among five vendors awarded contracts. The contract with the makers of the White House line of apple products expires Sept. 30.

"National Fruit Product Company has a long history of providing apple products to fulfill delivery order requirements for a variety of domestic nutrition assistance programs administered by FNS," Weaver said.

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