Driscoll’s to Deploy More than $4 Million in Charitable Funds in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
WATSONVILLE, CA - Although we live in uncertain times, and at times that uncertainty can feel overwhelming, I take comfort in the strength of our industry. Driscoll’s is one such beacon of strength, recently announcing that it plans to deploy over $4 million in global charitable funds across health clinics, food banks, fresh berry donations, and other community resources.
“We believe it’s our responsibility during these challenging times to support communities who are working tirelessly to bring fresh, healthy berries to families,” said J. Miles Reiter, Chairman and CEO. “Agriculture is an impactful kind of business that relies on human and environmental resources. We are responsible for what we do and how we do it, and are moving quickly to deploy donated resources for the largest community impact.”
In an open Letter to the Community, Reiter outlined the company’s commitment to protecting the health and safety of its employees; upholding food safety commitments to deliver fresh, nutritious fruit to consumers; and to assess and respond on how best to support its growing regions around the world.
The first $1 million in cash donations was deployed in mid-March to augment health care services in California, which is one of Driscoll’s largest growing regions. The following California clinics each received a cash donation of $250,000 to prepare and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Watsonville: Salud Para La Gente
- Salinas: Clinica Del Valle de Salinas
- Santa Maria: Community Health Centers
- Oxnard: Clínicas Del Camino Real
The grower noted that the funds are being distributed across diverse geographical growing regions, including $2.5 million for the U.S. and Canada, $1 million for Central Mexico and Baja, and $500,000 for Europe and Morocco. In addition, $500,000 in fresh berry donations will be delivered to the first responders and hospitals in New York City for their courageous efforts working on the frontlines.
In addition to helping health care services in California, Driscoll’s has worked diligently to ensure that food banks and pantries have enough money and resources to feed Californian families. $600K in cash donations and $100K in product donations have been released to the following California organizations:
- Watsonville: Second Harvest, Casa de La Cultura, Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes, Salvation Army, and Community Bridges
- Santa Maria: Food Bank of Santa Barbara County
- Oxnard: Food Share
“While our hope is that our donated resources positively impact communities in which our berries are grown and harvested, it’s going to take a commitment from the entire agriculture industry in order to properly support growers, farmworkers, and their families, and ensure families have access to fresh produce,” said Reiter. “We’re pleased that members of the produce industry have been committing resources during this time of need to support local food banks, healthcare providers, and workers across the entire food supply chain.”
To further ignite the spirit of giving, Driscoll’s is matching donations up to $200K for its employees and independent growers.
With that in mind, I can rest a bit easier. Thank you to Driscoll’s and to all of those within our industry working to support the supply-side and buy-side.