A $141,000 check was presented to the United Fresh Start Foundation after the Tour de Fresh 2018 ride finished in Monterey, Calif.
Presented by the California Giant Foundation, the 300-mile fundraising bike event started in Kirkwood, Calif., and ended in Monterey July 26. The money generated will donate at least 40 salad bars to schools, according to a news release.
“It really is powerful to see the culmination of all the work that has been put in to this event over the years be so successful and make tangible changes in schools,” Cindy Jewell, vice president of marketing for California Giant Berry Farms, said in the release. “I say this every year, and I will say it again, this was the best group we’ve had — everyone was in such great spirit, and even with the intensity of the route and several unforeseen circumstances, the passion and personal nature of this cause shined through the entire time.”
As Tour de Fresh riders arrived at the Finish Line Festival, they were met by city and community officials, school foodservice leaders, family and friends from the industry, according to the release.
Rodney Taylor, director of food and nutrition Services at Fairfax (Va.) County Public Schools and Robert Ceullar, director of school foodservice for Laredo, Texas were among those on hand at the finish line. Those two school districts will receive ten salad bars each, Jewell said, along with two other districts also receiving ten each. She said it was great to have the school officials there to see the race and for the participants to see where the salad bars will go.
"By doing ten (salad bars to each district), you are really making a difference," she said.
“This year was challenging with some of the terrain and weather, but it really brought the best out of us as a result,” Cristen Bonz, top fundraiser with more than $11,000 in personal donations, and a rider for Sakata Seed America, said in the release.
“When we’re able to come together, not just to ride because we love it, but because we know we’re making a generational impact, we can’t help but have a great time despite whatever unforeseen circumstances arise.”
Now with five years of the event helping schools stock salad bars, industry leaders said Tour de Fresh is having an effect on the industry.
“It’s been fantastic to see the industry come together to support increasing children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables in schools,” Andrew Marshall, United Fresh’s director of foundation programs and partnerships. “We so appreciate everyone involved with Tour de Fresh and all they have done to increase the visibility of the Salad Bars to Schools program while raising significant funds to help bring salad bars to more schools across the country.”
Industry members can still support Tour de Fresh by visiting www.tourdefresh.com/riders and making a donation to support any of the riders through Aug. 31.