WATSONVILLE — Members of the community came together at Second Harvest Food Bank on Thursday night to celebrate farmers, growers and food distributors in the Pajaro Valley.
The event, hosted by Second Harvest and the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, was sponsored by numerous local business — including Scurich Insurance Services, Watsonville Coast Produce and KSCO of Santa Cruz. Food and drink was also provided by Freedom Meat Lockers, Nob Hill Foods and Elkhorn Slough Brewing.
“We are so thankful for everyone in this room tonight,” said Pajaro Valley Chamber CEO Shaz Roth. “You deserve recognition for all you do.”
The evening’s focus was Second Harvest’s partnership with the Pajaro Valley Unified School District. June Ponce, who leads Second Harvest’s South County Engagement Task Force and also chairs the Pajaro Valley Engagement Committee, spoke about how the organization and the district work together to make sure fresh fruits and vegetables are available to students. She thanked PVUSD Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez for her continued support.
Michael Berman, longtime teacher at H.A. Hyde Elementary, gave the crowd a number of testaments from his students about the importance of having access to fruits and vegetables.
“The work you all do is not only helping these kids receive food,” he said, “it’s also teaching them a lot about the food they eat and why it’s important to stay healthy.”
Special attention was also given to the Pajaro Valley Engagement Committee, with one of its members, Lyza Gianelli, giving a brief speech. Gianelli is the manager for Martinelli’s Company Store.
“Being part of this community has taught me so much,” she said. “It’s been an incredible journey.”
Prizes were raffled off at the event, with proceeds benefiting Second Harvest, and Second Harvest’s Director of Corporate and Community Relations Jan Kamman led some guests on a tour of the organization’s facility. The evening capped off with a celebratory photo taken in front of the facility.