The berry company is giving $2.5 million to initiatives in the U.S. and Canada, $1 million to central Mexico and Baja, and $500,000 to Europe and Morocco. Fresh berries valued at $500,000 will be delivered to first responders and hospitals in New York City, according to a news release.
“We believe it’s our responsibility during these challenging times to support communities who are working tirelessly to bring fresh, healthy berries to families,” J. Miles Reiter, Driscoll’s chairman and CEO, said in the release. “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 a “Letter to the Community,” on the company’s website, Reiter outlines the $1 million the company donated in mid-March to health care facilities in California.
Each of these facilities received $250,000 to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Salud Para La Gente, Watsonville;
- Clinica Del Valle de Salinas, Salinas;
- Community Health Centers, Santa Maria; and
- Clínicas Del Camino Real, Oxnard.
Besides health services, food distribution was identified as the next critical need, according to the release. With shelter-in-place orders throughout California, food banks have few volunteers to serve thousands of families who need food delivered. Driscoll’s has donated $600,000 in cash and $100,000 in products to these California organizations:
- Second Harvest, Casa de La Cultura, Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes, Salvation Army and Community Bridges, all in Watsonville;
- Food Bank of Santa Barbara County, Santa Maria; and
- Food Share, Oxnard.
“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,” Reiter said in the release.
Beyond those donations, Driscoll’s is matching donations up to $200,000 for its employees and independent growers.
“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,” he said in the release.