In & Around Food World

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Everyone in the entire Mid-Atlantic food industry was saddened to learn last month of the death of Children’s Cancer Foundation founder and president Shirley B. Howard. Shirley Brager Howard was a former TV personality who, with her late husband Bill, founded the Children’s Cancer Foundation and went on to raise millions of dollars to help children suffering from cancer.

She worked very closely with Dr. Benjamin Carson, a world-renowned neurosurgeon, who had been director of pediatric neurosurgery at JohnsHopkinsHospital.

Shirley and her husband, a veteran showman and businessman, founded the Children’s Cancer Foundation in the basement of their Pikesville, MD home. Working very closely with the Mid-Atlantic food industry, they established an annual celebrity ball which raised millions over the years. The couple worked 12 to 15 hours a day fundraising.

According to their daughter Diane Perry, who worked with Shirley and now is the foundation’s diretor, the Children’s Cancer Foundation raised and dispersed more than $33 million during the past 29 years.

“Over the past 30 years, Shirley Howard, through the Children’s Cancer Foundation, has changed the face of childhood cancer,” said Diane. “When she began fundraising, the diagnosis of cancer was a death sentence for children. Then only one in ten survived the dreaded disease. Now over eight in 10 are surviving.”

“She also helped launch the careers of many cancer researchers,” said Dr. Carson,  “Shirley was a tremendous example of what one individual can do when they have passion. The story is one that should interest anyone who sits around and says, ‘What can I do?”

He added: “Thousands of children’s lives have been saved because of the research sponsored by her foundation. The amount of good that she did is impossible to estimate.”

Through their annual ball, an “anything-a-thon,” and working with the food industry, they disbursed to such institutions as JohnsHopkinsHospital, the University of

Maryland Medical Center, the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Uniformed Services University, Sinai Hospital and the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington. The couple also built the Children’s Inn on the NIH campus for ill children and their families.

In 2009, Shirley was presented the Impact One Award from the Maryland Chapter of the Association of Professional Fundraisers. She also received the Champion Pediatric Research Award, which was presented to her in a ceremony at the RayburnBuilding on Capitol Hill.

She was honored as Maryland’s Outstanding Older Worker by Experience Works in 2004 and was inducted into the Maryland Senior Hall of Fame last year.

In looking back over her life’s work, Shirley often said, “We pray for the day when we will hear children and adults’ laughter, and no longer have to hear their cries of pain.”

Shirley was a Baltimore native. She will be missed by all in the Mid-Atlantic food industry.

We also learned recently of the death of Joseph Unanue, former president of Goya Foods. Under his and his brother Frank’s leadership, the company grew from a regional food company to a global brand with 15 manufacturing and distribution facilities world wide. He began working at Goya in 1952 and served as president of Goya Foods Inc. from 1976 to 2004.

We also report on the death of Joseph H. McCarthy, former executive VP and COO of A&P , who also died recently. Joe began his career with FINAST (First National Stores) in Boston where he rose to a senior vice president. From 1977 to 1981 he was regional vice president of Grand Union Co. and in 1981 he joined A&P as Senior VP of the Metro Group and COO for United States and Canada. He also served in World War II and in the Korean conflict. He was 91.

Giant/Landover recently presented $87,282 and 16,000 healthy snack packs to the USO of Metropolitan Washington as a result of its March in-store giving campaign. Giant teamed up with USO-Metro for a third year, during the neighborhood grocer’s first-ever Military Appreciation Month, to support military families across the region.

And speaking of Giant, the company recently announced in partnership with its sister company Peapod, the leading internet grocer, that it has open 20 Giant Pick-up locations since April, including two newly opened locations at neighborhood Giant stores in Bowie, MD and Sterling, VA. In addition, the nation’s capital grocer recently opened a Giant pick-up and Giant fuel station hybrid facility located at 8500 Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase, MD.

NECCO (New England Confectionery Co.) of Revere, MA. has selected E. A. Berg Associates of Paramus, NJ to represent its products in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. E.A. Berg also represents NECCO in the Metro New York and New Jersey markets.

E.A. Berg will coordinate sales of all NECCO brands, including NECCO Wafers, Mary Jane Chews, Clark Bars, Skybars, Mighty Malts, Slap Stix and Candy Buttons.

Phusion Projects LLC announced that it has expanded its relationship with Advantage Sales and Marketing. Phusion is the first alcohol company to collaborate nationally with ASM, which will promote the company’s Four Loko, Island Squeeze and Moskato Life brands.

Mark your calendars for September 25-28, when the Natural Products Expo East will be held at the BaltimoreConvention Center. Natural Products Expo East 2012 was one of the most vibrant and exciting trade shows the East Coast has ever seen in the natural, organic and healthy lifestyle industry. 2013 promises to be bigger and better than ever before. One of the many interesting pavilions will be The NEXT New Products Pavilion (sponsored by Sterling Rice Group) where you will find hundreds of new products and first-time exhibitors. This will be a chance for food people to meet the people behind the brands, and learn about the hottest products to stock your shelves with. For more information visit

Harris Teeter donated 28,725 pounds of peaches as part of the “Peaches with a Purpose” program created by South Carolina peach grower Titan Farms. For four weeks in July and August, Harris Teeter donated a percentage of the peaches sold in stores in North and South Carolina. The peaches went to Second Harvest Food Banks in Charlotte and in Winston Salem, NC.

Weis Markets has donated $15,000 to local charities during the opening ceremony for its newest New Jersey store. The $7 million, 55,000- square-foot super market boasts advanced technology to reduce refrigerant usage by 60 percent. It is open 24 hours and is staffed by 250 full- and part-time employees.

Happy birthday wishes to my grandson, Samuel James Bestany, who turned nine, and happy anniversary wishes to his parents, Stephanie and Rick Bestany, Allegian Systems, their 13th.

If any of our readers would like to have their or their family’s birthdays and/or anniversaries published, please E-mail us at or send it to us at: In and Around Food World, 5537 Twin Knolls Rd. Columbia, MD.