In its biggest contribution to the organization, WholeStone Farms donated over $140,000 to the Fremont Area United Way Wednesday afternoon.
“On behalf of the Fremont Area United Way, we are incredibly grateful to all the employees and to the board and leadership and to the strong relationship and connection with WholeStone and the community,” United Way Executive Director Christy Fiala said. “It’s impressive.”
The check of $142,320 was given at an event held at the plant Wednesday. Fremont City Councilmember Mark Jensen was in attendance.
WholeStone employees were able to raise $71,000 through fundraising for the United Way over the past few months, which was matched by CEO Scott Webb.
“We just say thank you Christy for everything you do, and thank you to the community of Fremont, and ‘Here We Grow,’” he said.
WholeStone previously helped volunteer with the United Way’s Food Packaging Day last month, as well as home rehabilitation. Its employees worked on houses in the Regency II Mobile Home Park in Fremont over a three-day period.
Webb thanked the people in attendance at the check-giving event and said the check is representative of what the company is.
“One of our core values is integrity, and that’s to be morally and ethically involved in everything that we do, both as employees of the company and as stewards of the environment and stewards of the community,” he said.
WholeStone’s owners, who allowed Webb to match the donation, are made up of independent producers in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana.
“It’s our employees’ money, half of it is,” Webb said. “But the fact that none of them live right here in Fremont, but they have an investment in the future of Fremont, that’s very important to them.”
Webb said WholeStone also took part in the Salvation Army of Fremont’s Adopt-a-Family program earlier this month, which allowed them to purchase $17,000 of gifts from Gordmans for Christmas presents.
After the flooding last March, employees donated over $100,000, while the owners donated $125,000.
“That’s just the kind of people that they are, and I just want to stress that even though they may not be a resident of this community, they care a ton about this community,” Webb said. “Because we plan on being here a long time and we plan on growing. And we want to be part of the fabric of the community.”
Webb thanked the employees, whom he called “absolutely amazing,” and highlighted the renovation efforts to the plant, which will add a new cafeteria and locker room areas.
“When you think about the people that walk through the gates every day and do the hard work, that’s the heart and soul of the company and the plant,” he said. “And we need to take care of them, so that’s a big part.”
United Way Board Chairman Nick Vrba said he often sees WholeStone Chief Operating Officer Steve Weers at board meetings, where they make sure to thank him for the company’s “amazing support.”
“You have great employees that have a passion for what they do and a passion for the community,” he said. “I hope this is like wildfire out there, that others see what WholeStone’s done.”