On Saturday, March 12, United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel joined California State Superintendent of Education Tom Torlakson and leaders from Silicon Valley’s renowned high-tech business sector at the 3rd annual Lam Research “Heart & Soles 5K”, benefitting salad bars for schools in San Jose, Santa Clara County and surrounding communities. This is the third year that the United Fresh Start Foundation has collaborated with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation to support salad bars for local schools.
“What began as a produce industry initiative to assist schools with serving more fresh fruits and veggies to children has truly grown into a movement that is engaging individuals, non-profits and corporate partners outside the produce industry,” said Stenzel.
“The Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation has galvanized a coalition of tech industry and local non-profit partners. We are very pleased to have their support, and to know that technology innovators who value creative solutions, also believe in salad bars as a way to empower the next generation to make healthy choices every day,” he said.
The 2016 “Heart & Soles 5K” saw over 1,500 Silicon Valley residents, technology executives, government, education and non-profit leaders come out to run in support of salad bars for local schools. Over the past two years, The Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation has supported salad bars for 122 San Jose-area schools, benefitting nearly 100,000 students. This year’s event aims to support 70 additional salad bars. In the weeks ahead, The Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation will work closely with the United Fresh Start Foundation to identify school districts for donation, coordinate outreach to schools and facilitate the delivery of salad bars, as part of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative.
As an added value to this year’s event, several produce industry partners joined with the United Fresh Start Foundation to display a salad bar at the race, as well as provide tote bags and fresh produce to runners and their families. Thank you to the following supporters:
Dole Food Company Tote Bags, Bananas Robinson Fresh Tote Bags
Duda Farm Fresh Foods Fresh-Cut Celery Sticks Renaissance Food Group Fresh-Cut Cantaloupe
Following the event, all remaining produce was donated to the Milpitas Food Pantry and the salad bar was delivered to the nearby Cambrian School District.
The day prior to the “Heart & Soles 5K”, Stenzel and United Fresh’s Director of Foundation Programs and Partnerships, Andrew Marshall, joined staff from The Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation; local non-profit and salad bar supporter, The Health Trust; and produce distributor Daylight Foods, to meet with school foodservice leaders from the Alum Rock Elementary District at Ocala Middle School in east San Jose. The visit provided an opportunity to observe students using the salad bar, as well as have an inside look at a location that serves as both a cafeteria and a satellite kitchen/production and distribution facility that receives, prepares and then transports food to other schools in the district.
“It was terrific to see the salad bar and how students were able to select from colorful options that included baby carrots, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, bell pepper strips, jicama sticks and fresh, whole mandarins, among other choices,” said Marshall. “The folks at the Alum Rock District are working very hard for their students and we appreciate their commitment to ensuring their children have access to a variety of fresh choices.”
United Fresh and The Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation first came together in 2013, following the successful year-long produce industry campaign to support salad bars for California schools. The “Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools” campaign resulted in the donation of salad bars to 436 California schools throughout the state. The United Fresh Start
Foundation has since worked closely with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the California Department of Education to support healthier school meals for California schools.
Since 2010, the United Fresh Start Foundation and Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools partners have facilitated the donation of salad bars to more than 4,500 schools in all 50 states, benefitting nearly 3 million children every school day. Salad bars have been donated to over 1,050 California schools, the most of any state.