SALINAS VALLEY — More than 1,100 backpacks filled with school supplies were delivered to students in King City and Salinas this year as part of Taylor Farms’ 13th annual Backpack Giving Program.
After starting the program in Monterey County in 2010, Taylor Farms has since expanded it to eight other company locations including in California, Texas, Maryland, Rhode Island and Mexico. This year, nearly 5,000 backpacks in total were distributed to youth in these local Taylor Farms communities.
“We are dedicated to positively impacting the communities where our team members work and live,” said Panchita Preciado, safety manager for Taylor Farms who has led the program for the past 13 years. “Most of the schools involved in our Backpack Distribution Program are linked to employees, whether their own children are enrolled or close relatives — which makes this program even more important to Taylor Farms.”
During the first week of school in August, a total of 1,123 backpacks were handed out to Monterey County first graders at the following sites: Santa Lucia Elementary, Del Rey Elementary and King City Arts Magnet schools in King City; and Frank Paul Elementary, Alisal Community Elementary, Cesar Chavez Elementary, Los Padres Elementary and Roosevelt Elementary schools in Salinas.
Since the program’s inception, Taylor Farms has donated more than 35,000 backpacks to students across the United States and Mexico. According to Taylor Farms, the philosophy behind the youth development program focuses on making education more inclusive and creative.
“Taylor Farms wants to provide learning and development opportunities inside and outside the classroom,” the company stated. “The program continues to evolve to meet community needs focused on early learning, higher education, entrepreneurship and vocational skills, as well as the educational resources to help students reach their goals.”
Taylor Farms is North America’s leading producer of ready-to-eat salads and healthy fresh foods. The Backpack Giving Program complements its long-standing tradition of educational philanthropy that also includes the Taylor Farms Scholarship, which has awarded more than $3 million in scholarship funds to local students.