Some of the workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in Lompoc were treated to bundles of fresh, locally-grown produce on Friday, courtesy of a local agricultural enterprise.
Campbell Ranches, which runs farming and produce stand operations in the Lompoc Valley, donated about 40 cases — equivalent to about 1,500 pounds — of assorted vegetables to the staff at Lompoc Valley Medical Center. The food was delivered Friday morning and then distributed throughout the day to employees.
Meredith Fischer, a food safety manager for Campbell Ranches, said that a couple factors led to the donation.
“We know that the hospital [staff] is working pretty hard to keep us all safe, and at the same time, with the markets being as they are, fresh produce isn’t moving as much, so we would have hated to waste [all this food],” she said.
The idea for the donation came about when Bob Campbell, owner of Campbell Ranches, struck up a conversation with Nora Wallace, a public relations coordinator at LVMC, recently at a produce stand.
“I mentioned that I wanted to buy some strawberries to donate to staff, and he said he wanted to donate produce,” Wallace said of that chance encounter. “He said he was just ‘walking over lettuce’ in the fields because his commercial buyers were closed. He asked what we needed.”
That led to pallets of broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and other vegetables getting loaded and shipped to the hospital.
Wallace helped distribute the food on a first-come, first-served basis to employees who wanted some.
Fischer, who worked with Wallace to coordinate the drop-off, said she was proud to see the food go toward supporting medical workers, particularly during this coronavirus crisis.
“With all the stuff that’s going on in the world, it’s kind of the least we could do,” she said, “especially when we’ve got excess.”