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BJ’s Wholesale Club Supports Maine Classrooms with $100,000 Donation

BJ’s Wholesale Club has funded all classroom projects listed by teachers in Maine through crowd-funding website The $100,000 donation from BJ’s Charitable Foundation fulfilled 165 classroom projects, benefiting 7,758 students in schools across the entire state.

“Every teacher and student should have the resources necessary for a successful school year,” said Kirk Saville, Executive Director, BJ’s Charitable Foundation. “At BJ’s, we’re committed to helping families thrive by providing essentials to students and teachers, and we’re proud to fund all projects in Maine with a $100,000 donation.”

BJ’s donation supports a diverse variety of projects across the entire state of Maine including the following projects:

  • A collection of beginning chapter books to improve literacy and foster a love of reading among first-grade students at Suzanne M Smith Elementary School
  • Supplies to create basic hygiene packs to equip students at Fred P Hall Elementary School with daily essentials such as socks, body wash, deodorant, and sunscreen
  • Tablets for Auburn Middle School students to explore the art of digital photography, animation and 3-D sculpting.

“We’re grateful for BJ’s continued partnership and their commitment to helping classrooms in need,” said Rianne Roberts, Partnerships Manager at “Their generous $100,000 donation will help students in Maine have tools and experiences they need for a great education.”

As part of its Adopt-a-School program and collaboration with, BJ’s has contributed more than $2 million to help equip teachers at over 2,500 public and charter elementary schools with the resources necessary to create innovative lesson plans and meet curriculum objectives.

Southern Living Kitchen Collection from Virginia Diner

Virginia Diner PF for webIn 1929 America was headed into the Great Depression, but along a dusty highway in southeastern Virginia, a small railroad dining car opened its doors and started selling meals to hungry travelers. Established in the heart of Virginia peanut country, it was only natural that peanuts would end up on the Virginia Diner menu. Today, Virginia Diner nuts and confections are available at fine retailers nationwide.

The Virginia Diner has now partnered with Southern Living magazine/Time Inc. to create its exclusively licensed Southern Living Kitchen Collection. Choose from any of the Virginia Diner’s signature flavors: Salted, Honey Roasted, Dill Pickle, Sweet Onion, Wasabi & Ginger, Sriracha, or get them all to bring home a taste of the South.

Affectionately known as “The Peanut Capital of the World”™, the Virginia Diner has been a “Legend in a Nutshell since 1929.”™

The Southern Living Kitchen Collection is available in 9-ounce and 10-ounce tins that are packed in cases of 12. The Virginia Diner also offers monthly specials.

Producers Bring On-Trend Innovative Products to Market

By Robin Mather

Here are some of the trendiest products hitting the market right now.

The specialty waters segment grew 75 percent from 2014 to 2016, according to the Specialty Food Association, which also noted a growing interest in fictional beverages. Among exhibitors at this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show with specialty waters were HFactor Hydrogen Infused Water, which has been supercharged with molecular hydrogen to act as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant; Formula Four Beverage Oxigen water and shots, enhanced with O4 molecules; Pervida Immune Health Waters, enhanced with pomegranate seed oil, said to provide immunity support and improve digestive health; and the Rogers Collections’ Halen Mon Oak Smoked Water, meant to use in recipes to add a robust flavor to soups, risotto and casseroles.

Snack sticks are definitely hot, hitting snacking, portability and wellness with ingredients such as seeds, nuts, super fruits and additional protein. Vivify Snacks Energy Sticks blend quinoa, flax, sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds with nuts for protein sticks, and Grayson Natural Farms offers grassfed smoked beef sticks.

Plant-based foods, vegetarian- or vegan-friendly foods are also hot, as producers touch on cheese and dairy, frozen dessert, water and meat alternative segments. Beyond Better cashew sauce is a just-add-water alternative to cheese sauces; Little Red Dot Kitchen’s Eggplant Baconness BakWa is a vegan version of the company’s Singapore- and Malasian-style meat snacks.

Coffee and tea remain white-hot as well, the Specialty Food Association said. A number of companies have capitalized on innovations in both refrigerated and shelf-stable varieties as well as RTD categories. Sunup Green Coffee offers a RTD brewed coffee made from unroasted green coffee beans, while Afineur Cultured Coffee is using natural fermentation to provide premium coffee with low bitterness.

Savory and spicy sweets are drawing customer interest, with place-of-origin labeling key, the Specialty Food Association said. Rumi Spice Saffron Gems, founded by a military veteran, is helping Afghan farmers bring saffron to the U.S. market in the form of saffron threads suspended in gummy candies. Milky Finest White Chocolate now offers a bar that incorporates chips made from blue potatoes grown in the Swiss Alps, white chocolate and sea salt.

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