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Pundit’s Mailbag —
Gifts From The Heart

We received this heartwarming message just in time for Christmas:

Thank you for your continued service to the produce community.

I wanted to take a second to share with you a peek at the heart of some of the people in the produce industry.

After viewing a Thanksgiving news story about the lack of food available to feed the needy, a few of the people at Fresh Express Salinas were moved to make a difference. They started the first Annual Fresh Express Chickens-4-Charity Challenge to engage their co-workers to gather donations in order to provide a frozen chicken to as many needy families in their community as possible in time for Christmas. Their goal was to raise $1,000 or about 300 chickens in less than 2 weeks.

The donations arrived in a furious fashion, and most were very generous, especially considering the current economic situation. The goal was going to be surpassed with ease.

Then on the last morning of the event, just before the donation was to be delivered to the Monterey Food Bank and Ag Against Hunger, a manager from the processing plant arrived with another donation. He said that it was monies collected from the plant workers during a common meal held the day before to celebrate the Christmas Holiday.

In the bag that he delivered, there were no large checks, no large bills. In that bag were hundreds and hundreds of one-dollar bills and change, totaling $1,308! This donation was not given by those with great abundance, but it was given by those who generally live paycheck-to-paycheck. A gift from the heart!

In total, the associates at Fresh Express donated over $5,000; the donation included over 1,660 pounds of frozen chicken and cash gifts of $2,000 to both charities.

The goal was exceeded, the program will be a re-occurring event, but more importantly those in this produce community were touched by their neighbors in a positive way.

Merry Christmas,

— Michael Johanson
Manager — Transportation, Logistics, Innovations, & Warehousing
ChiquitaFresh Express

Congratulations to the team at Fresh Express in Salinas on transcending passivity at this holiday season. We bet there are a lot of examples of such loving kindness throughout the industry and, in fact, we’ve covered some recent corporate-giving to charities in our sister publication, PRODUCE BUSINESS, through a two-part article on Cause Marketing in our December and January issues.

Whenever you happen to see individuals at your company doing some good for the world, why don’t you send a note to the Pundit… even better with a photo, so we can memorialize the good works of this industry.

The story of the workers at the processing plant is especially poignant and it shows how good works can be infectious in a community.

It is all so very nice but we confess to one question. Didn’t you send a few bags of salad along with the chicken?

Make sure to send us an update when you break this year’s record, next year. Many thanks to Michael Johanson for sending us word of this fine donation. Good tidings to all!

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