Wow the Queen of Tarts is getting deep this week!
Oregon Fruit Products has been recognized for a couple of important awards in the last couple of months. As a company we have a culture of not “tooting our own horn” so much so that I was personally unaware of something incredible that we have done and I feel compelled to share it with my readers.
Recently we received an award from the West Salem Rotary for our efforts to assist them in raising money over the years for their charitable efforts. As some of you know, I have been involved as a founder in non-profit work for the last several years and I know first hand how difficult but necessary it is to raise money. Oregon Fruit has teamed up with 9 local Rotary clubs over the last 18 years to sell tubs of berries to the community. Oregon Fruit sources the fruit, cleans it and packs it for the sale. The Rotary clubs sell it to community members, pick it up and deliver it. This partnership has raised more than
ONE MILLION DOLLARS !
since inception. The money is used to provide scholarships to local kids heading off to college as well as support the local food banks and other worthy efforts in the community. That is A LOT of money and also a win-win-win for all involved. Local growers sell their fruit, the Rotary Clubs have a turn key project that they can count on year in and year out with a predictable return and the people that buy the fruit get to enjoy delicious local berries all ready to eat at a great price. The Oregon Fruit employees that work on this project fit it in while we are in the busiest time of our year. I was extremely proud of our company when I learned about this and we were extremely grateful to receive the Community Service Award from the West Salem Rotary this year!
A second, equally important recognition came our way this year as well. The gloom and doom recession news has hit our nation hard. Unemployment has affected families and communities in profound ways. The small business owners are carrying a greater load than ever and many have found it impossible to carry on. In light of all that the Gehlar family made it a priority to sell their company to someone who would keep the business open in Salem and keep the employees employed. Not only have we stayed open we have grown and added jobs. The Maletis family, another third generation family business from Columbia Distributing fame in Portland, Oregon has purchased the business and are continuing the tradition of local production of local products. Recently Oregon Fruit Products was honored by the Oregon Department of Agriculture for our efforts to produce “High Value Products” and successfully exporting them. Our new owner, Ed Maletis and our President, Joe Peterson accepted the award on behalf of all of us.
I am personally proud to work for a company that has integrity and values and is part of the economic engine that will help fuel a recovery. This company also understands the importance of giving back.
Lots of food companies do good works and from time to time I will be sharing examples of these acts of good citizenship on the part of our customers, the retailers that stock our products. Big or small, quiet or public, acts of kindness add to our humanity.