The team at Excel Packaging are proud members of their community, and we love taking time together as colleagues to give back to that community. We recently took some of the kids from the Village of Hope to visit a local farm! We had a great time touring the farm and chaperoning the children. The kids, ages 2-5, enjoyed a lovely day of picking veggies, petting animals and learning about where food comes from!
The children with whom we spent the day live with their families at the Village of Hope, a 192-bed transitional housing program for homeless men, women, and children. The Village of Hope is a program of the Orange County Rescue Mission. Their goal is to provide a safe, supportive environment where residents learn the skills they need to transition back into work and self-sufficiency.
We arrived at Tanaka Farms early on a sunny October morning to meet the children we’d be hanging out with on the tour through the farm. Our tour guide guided us through the procedure for our outdoor adventure that day, reminding us to use care when walking around the farm and picking someone’s future meal!
The farm is situated in the heart of Irvine, surrounded by the suburbs of Orange County. Farmer Glenn Tanaka, his wife, Shirley, and his son, Farmer Kenny, own and operate Tanaka Farms, which is an authentic working farm. The 30-acre farm produces fruits & vegetables that supply the Tanaka Farms produce stand, provides for their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, and their various educational tours. So, after a quick introduction to the farm and staff, we set out to explore the farm on a wagon tour.
Our guide taught us a little about how the farm works as we made our way through on the wagon. We got off at our stop, where they taught us how to pick the veggies we would be handling that day: carrots, white onion, radishes, and cilantro. Then the adults got to picking veggies, teaching the kids how to do it too–or trying to anyways. The 2-year old’s were somehow more interested in playing than picking veggies!
At first, our young charges were very shy. But, as Sales Associate Austin Prince put it, “it was remarkable to see how they opened up to us throughout the morning.” He goes onto say, “by the end of our time with them, they were guiding us by the hand to help them pick the pumpkins they’d be taking home.” It was truly a very rewarding experience for our team just as much as it was for the kids!
Excel Packaging is becoming a WELL Certified, B-Corp to be a force for good. We aim to achieve this in part by giving back to our community. After our day at the farm, we were convinced of Tanaka Farm’s commitment to this as well. They believe that when we engage children with hands-on activities like picking their own veggies, we can positively shape their relationship to food and nutrition throughout their lifetimes. We saw firsthand how this can be a reality! The team is always so happy to give back and to be part of a team of compassionate community leaders. It’s just one part of what makes Excel Packaging such a great place to work!
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