POM Wonderful workers get day off to help others

The Fresno BeeJune 12, 2014 

Fue Cheng was the only person in the crowd of 30 fellow POM Wonderful employees who knew anything about Terry's House.

In 2011, Cheng and his family found out firsthand what the Fresno nonprofit does when his brother-in-law had a stroke while visiting from Michigan. Cheng's father-in-law stayed at Terry's House and was able to walk across the street to Community Regional Medical Center to check up on his son during the three months he was hospitalized.

The 4th annual POM Wonderful community service day benefitted charities and nonprofits in Fresno on Thursday like Terry's House.

"When I heard about this, I said, 'If we can pick and choose where we go, I'd like to go to Terry's,'" Cheng said. He said his father-in-law had an excellent experience living at Terry's House, a place Cheng did not know anything about before his relative's stroke.

POM Wonderful, which makes juice and snacks, shut down its operations for the day, paid its 325 employees to volunteer at seven locations and donated $80,000 in materials.

Terry's House has served 2,600 families since opening in January 2011, according to executive director Christa Short. The home operates on donations and private funds to host families while patients receive treatment at Community Regional.

POM Wonderful employees also cleaned guest rooms, put together kids coloring kits, and fixed up the healing garden at Terry's House, said Short. This freed up donor funds for families instead of a cleaning crew.

"As a team, we looked at things we can't get to on a day-to-day basis," said Short about when POM Wonderful approached her. "There's such a great need for a facility like this. Having people here to help really means a lot."

The POM Wonderful facility wanted to expand its volunteering to Fresno for the first time from the home location in Del Rey, where their sorting, juicing, and packaging has occured since 2002.

"The giving back doesn't need a return on investment. It's just good for your heart," said Michael Solomon, president of POM Wonderful.

Roll Global, based in Los Angeles, is the parent company of POM Wonderful and Wonderful Brands. Owners Stewart and Lynda Resnick operate such agricultural ventures as Paramount Citrus and Paramount Farms, which produces almonds and pistachios as well as pomegranates.

Other charities that benefited from the community service day included Animal Compassion Team, Community Food Bank, Poverello House, Ronald McDonald House, Del Rey Elementary School, and Del Rey Boys and Girls Club.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6279, htraceynoren@fresnobee.com or @HtraceyNoren on Twitter.

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