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SJC United Way launches employee donation campaign
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Second Harvest Food Bank Operations manager Rudy Valencia, left, stands with Gardner Trucking staffers at the firm’s employee kick-off for contributions to the area’s non-profits. Others from left are Tara Groves, compliance manager; President of United Way Andy Prokop, Dana Spencer and Gardner Leonard LeBarre, general manager for Northern California operations.

United Way of San Joaquin County launched their employee campaign Wednesday underwritten by Gardner Trucking and Second Harvest Food Bank for the benefit of area non-profit organization dedicated to feeding the poor and hungry.

“Every one of our employees has the opportunity to donate weekly to the charity of their choice,” said Leonard LaBarre, general manager for Northern California.  Second Harvest Food Bank Operations Manager Rudy Valencia gave his support as well to the program.

United Way President Andy Prokop told the group of the hardships that non-profits are addressing in attempting to overcome poverty within the county.  Prokop spoke off the heartbreaking scenarios he had witnessed throughout his life adding that he had owned numerous Carl’s Junior Restaurants where food was always donated to those in need.  

Valencia lauded the charitable giving of the Costco stores that provides their dated foodstuffs and returned products to the Manteca based food bank.  He told of driving up to the Lodi store last week in a Food Bank truck and being given pallets of vegetables – dropping off the fresh produce and assorted sandwiches and deli rolls where they were needed on his return trip back to Manteca.  It was a repetitious trip for him, having dropped off food pallets the day before to the Salvation Army in Lodi.

The 25-year-old Gardner Trucking firm was recently purchased by the nationwide CRST Trucking Firm with some 400 employees and some 300 trucks in the Northern California sector – driver, administrative assistants and mechanical shop personnel.

Gardner’s Tara Graves said it is difficult to struggle with the thought of children in need of food within the county. It was an eye opener for the employees to hear of the common needs, she said.  

To contact Glenn Kahl, email