AC Brands Launches On-Site Vaccination Clinics
MILPITAS, CA - As the country continues to implement more COVID-19 vaccinations, some of our industry friends have taken the initiative by creating on-site clinics. AC Brands, for example, partnered with Albertsons’ Pharmacy division to provide 1,100 vaccines across Kern County, California, in addition to partnering with Family Healthcare Network to provide 1,044 vaccines across Tulare County, California. Vaccine sites were stationed at Legacy Packing and Cold Storage in Dinuba; Columbine Vineyards in Delano and Arvin; and Treesource/Griffith Farms in Woodlake.
“With COVID-19 still being widespread, we saw an opportunity to solve a community problem, not just a company issue. Vaccine rollouts began to take place, but there was still a lack of access in the communities we operate in, so we set out to bring the vaccine to the people who need it,” said Vincent Sorena, Vice President of Farming. “The first step was to start with education. We compiled resources and appointed trusted ambassadors who would monitor and answer questions about the vaccine.” Along with Vincent, there were several other key leaders who were at the helm of AC Brands’ COVID-19 task force, including Vincent Sorena, Renee Massey, Jessica Martinez, Jorge Luna, Monica Escoto, Priscila Reuland, and Heidi Cervantes.
Vincent told me that AC Brands was able to gauge interest from its employees and secure over 2,100 vaccines. From there, the company coordinated staff and facilities to create vaccination sites that would service its employees, Sumo Citrus contractors, farm labor contractors, other table grape and citrus operations, and community members. Community members from the age of 18 to 85 signed up for vaccinations.
“With this vaccine rollout, we were able to start to put a dent into the farm labor contractors and partners. Our first weekend, we had 340 people from partnerships through California Farmworkers Foundation enrolled for a vaccine appointment. In total, we will have provided vaccine access to more than 30 different businesses,” Vincent continued. “We partnered with California Farmworkers Foundation to provide 200 boxes of food at our Arvin facility, and 400 boxes at our Delano facility, to those who received vaccinations.”
Craig Hope, Chief Executive Officer, also commented on the success of this program.
“I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by a great COVID-19 task force team, as their dedication, vision, and work has been nothing short of amazing,” he said. “I can’t thank them enough! They are amongst the many heroes in our company that come to work every day to pack, sell, harvest, and grow our great products and support such an event to protect the team.”
AC Brands has had a unique awareness of the pandemic, as cities around the U.S. began to shut down during the peak of Sumo Citrus® season, one of the busiest times of the year for its citrus business.
“Now, a year later, we are coming full circle, seeing vaccines distributed around the country,” said Vincent. “AC Brands wanted to make sure that our employees and the surrounding community—many of whom support the Central Valley citrus and table grape industry—had access to vaccines. The team worked tirelessly to execute a 10-day, 2,144-dose rollout at our own facilities beginning March 5.”
Below are a couple of comments from team members who took advantage of this opportunity:
Bettina Ortiz, Legacy Packing and Cold Storage, Team Member
“I feel good about taking care of me and my family. The process was fast and I had no pain.”
Maria Araujo Randstad, Legacy Packing and Cold Storage, Team Member
“It’s a good opportunity to get it at work because other people are not as fortunate. Everyone was very professional. The team helped me keep calm and not be nervous or afraid. It was pain free. They gave us information on what we were getting and gave us our next vaccine paperwork. It was all very organized.”
Our team at ANUK extends our deepest thanks to AC Brands and all of the industry champions taking on this obstacle.