TYSON CORNER, Va. -- Whole Foods Market said last week that it will donate 5% of its April 29 chainwide sales to community-based service organizations that benefit agricultural workers in California and other parts of the United States.
local cause, organization or activity of the store's choice, officials said. Local events will continue in addition to the national program.
According to company officials, the new program will provide between $125,000 and $150,000 this year, which will be distributed to a variety of groups and individuals working directly with farm workers in California.
"This new National 5% Day reflects Whole Foods' long-standing commitment to social responsibility, and our acknowledgment that our business is intimately tied to the communities we serve and in which we harvest our organic produce," said Peter Roy, president of Whole Foods.
This year, the program will support community-based organizations providing free health care, citizenship education and counseling, children's cultural programs, and training in sustainable agricultural practices to strawberry workers and their families in the three major strawberry-growing valleys of California: Watsonville/Salinas, Oxnard and Santa Maria. Additional organizations are currently being selected.
The program's first recipient is Casa de la Cultura, a nonprofit community center run by Sister Rosa Dolores, of the Daughters of Charity, in Pajaro, Calif.
Casa de la Cultura was founded in 1996 by Sister Dolores, who last year was named Pajaro Woman of the Year for her service to this small Central Coast community almost exclusively composed of farm workers and their families.
Pajaro's year-round population of 3,000 swells to 7,000 during the height of summer harvest. Sister Dolores and some 125 volunteers provide services ranging from free health care to a cultural center for art, dance and music for the more than 1,000 children of local farm workers.
The contribution by Whole Foods will allow Sister Dolores to expand services and provide assistance to a greater number of residents in need. "Whole Foods is proud to join in partnership with Sister Rosa Dolores and Casa de la Cultura," said Roy. "We measure the success of our business in part by contributing to our communities in ways that improve human health and make a difference in the world. The selfless work of Sister Rosa Dolores epitomizes those principles.