PORTLAND, OR (DECEMBER 2023)- It‘s estimated that 13 million children in the U.S. live in food-insecure homes, and this year, more than 1 in 3 Americans are foregoing gifts due to inflation. Corporate holiday giving is one way to make sure these families get to enjoy holiday cheer this season. This year, Columbia Grain International (CGI) is hosting its third annual Cultivating Community Christmas campaign which enables its teams across the northern tier to support their local communities and impact meaningful change. Columbia Grain employees in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota are coordinating efforts to support their communities in ways that will benefit them the most.
“Our Cultivating Community Christmas campaign highlights our core corporate value of Caring. Our teams across the northern tier are deeply active and committed to their local communities,” said Jeff Van Pevenage, President and CEO of Columbia Grain International. “It’s our honor to give back at a local level during the holiday season to enact real change.”
CGI encourages each of its facilities to volunteer in their local communities in a way that they believe will create the greatest impact. The company also provides each facility with the means to donate to charities of their choice and gives free Balanced Bushel and Great River Milling products to local food banks and soup kitchens.
Here’s how a few of their facilities chose to spread joy throughout their communities this holiday season:
The team in Grangeville, Idaho, volunteered for the city’s annual Toys for Tots drive, and they’re using their funds to supply diapers, wipes, blankets, and stocking stuffers to local families. “Brandon Rehder and the employees at Columbia Grain have been a huge asset to the Marines Reserve Toys for Tots program. They have been a wonderful blessing for children and families from Grangeville, Nezperce, Cottonwood, Winchester, Craigmont, Ferdinand, and Elk City. They help us purchase special items for newborn babies along with toys for other children, are a collection center, and provide the physical labor loading and unloading the donations. They do all of this with smiles and Christmas cheer! The Toys for Tots program is thankful for all of their help and support,” said the local Toys for Tots program director Julie Bentley.
In Port of Wilma, Washington, Columbia Grain International’s team sponsored a table, attended by CGI’s Kourtney Bolen and Mary Kay Peter, to support the Northwest Children’s Home, which provides a safe space, meals, education, therapy, medical care and continued support for children aged 10-17.
In Chinook, Montana, CGI’s Amy Dunn and team coordinated a monetary donation to the senior center. The center’s state funding was cut this year, and with their CGI funds, they were able to sponsor 132 holiday senior meals.
The Craigmont/Nezperce, Idaho team selected four names each from the Craigmont Tree of Sharing and the Nezperce Giving Tree. With one name left on the Nezperce Giving Tree, the team pitched in some of their own funds to ensure that no children were left on the tree. CGI’s Kathy Gehring coordinated the shopping, providing each family member with both necessities and items from their wish lists.
CGI’s Grain Buyer Cort Ruzicka in Lind, Washington has helped the team coordinate wrapping presents at the school for “Little Kid’s Christmas Store,” a donation to the Lind Food Bank, handing out Christmas food boxes to those in need courtesy of the Ritzville Food Pantry, and had a CGI pickup truck in the Christmas Light Parade in downtown Lind.
The team at Great River Milling, a brand under CGI’s Enrich Foods, donated their time and products to the Holiday Fundraising Campaign at Winona Health hospital in Minnesota.
Through Cultivating Community Christmas, Columbia Grain International continues to support and bring holiday cheer to the communities they serve.