05.15.2018 Making a Difference at Home Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Ocean Spray is tightly woven into the fabric of the communities where we operate. From Massachusetts to New Jersey, Wisconsin, Nevada, Texas, and even British Columbia, we call these places home. As our growers and employees work, live and raise their families there, it is a priority for our Cooperative to help non-profit organizations make these communities happier, healthier and safer. One way we support exceptional local programming is through our Community Fund. Last year, we provided more than $100,000 and product donations to support projects like renovating playgrounds, feeding the homeless, and offering STEM education for children. We recently connected with some of our 2017 grant recipients about how the funds have helped them make a difference in the communities they serve. Here are their stories: Cathedral Kitchen’s mission is to use food to change lives in Camden, NJ; it does so by serving freshly prepared meals, six days a week, to those in need. Food is plated and served at the table, providing a dining experience with dignity. The nonprofit also offers free culinary arts education, as well as a contract meal program for local shelters and halfway houses, which means they serve 2,000 meals each day! “We learned about the Community Fund through Grower-Owner Holly Haines, whose family have been long-time supporters of ours,” said Karen Talarico, Cathedral Kitchen’s Executive Director. Director of Development, Noreen Flewelling, added, “The funds helped us purchase protein, pay chef salaries and support the transportation of food to schools and seniors in Camden.” Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia builds strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter. In addition to selling more than 200 homes to first-time homeowners, the nonprofit has repaired 450+ homes in the area through its Home Repair Program. “In Philadelphia, we have a high rate of homeownership, a high poverty rate, and an aging housing stock; these three factors mean there is great need for affordable repairs throughout the city,” shared Kathryn Fernandez, Director of Institutional Advancement for the nonprofit. “Ocean Spray’s support means we can help stabilize another family in their home, keeping them warm, safe and dry.” Warrens, WI, is an active cranberry-growing community where Ocean Spray Grower-Owner Amy Gebhardt and fellow board members of the Warrens Area Youth Association lead the effort to update the town’s main park, offering a safe and enjoyable space for everyone. Amy has coordinated funding to replace old playground equipment and picnic tables and to install bathrooms and LED lighting; fellow cranberry growers have donated their time and equipment for the park improvements. “The park has become not only a spot kids to play, but also a resource for the community – whether it’s for a meeting or a birthday party,” shared Amy. “The Community Fund grant allows us to finish the park updates as well as maintain it through the seasons.” Tom Rielly, Co-Director of Brook Retreat in Plympton, MA, tells us that the Community Fund grant allowed them to create a work and job search station to help guests who are getting back on their feet. The Retreat now has a new desktop computer equipped with software for resume building, printing, scanning and job search applications so that users can apply for jobs and integrate back into the community. “Our residents are very grateful for the new technology; it has made the job search aspect of our program much easier,” shared Tom. “We were honored to be chosen as grant recipients and are happy to see the funds’ instant benefit.” We’re looking to support more community projects this year! Do you know a nonprofit in a location where Ocean Spray operates? Applications are available at www.oceanspray.coop/communityfund and must be submitted before June 15 at 12:00 p.m. noon EST.