Agriculture

Bee Sweet Citrus gives $1 million to Valley Children’s for Fowler health center

• Valley Children’s Healthcare receives $1 million donation from Bee Sweet Citrus in Fowler.

• The donation will be used to support Children’s new pediatric care center planned for Fowler.

• The center is expected to open in 2016 and is being built in partnership with Adventist Health/Central Valley Network.

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Valley Children’s Healthcare, the regional pediatrics network that goes beyond the bounds of the Valley Children’s Hospital campus in Madera County, is getting a $1 million donation from Bee Sweet Citrus to support the soon-to-be built outpatient specialty care center in Fowler.

Todd Suntrapak, Valley Children’s president and chief executive officer, was joined by Bee Sweet president Jim Marderosian and his wife, Michelle, during a check presentation Wednesday morning at the packinghouse’s Fowler headquarters. Dozens of the company’s employees also attended.

“We could not be more thankful for their generosity,” Suntrapak said.

In October, Children’s announced a $10 million deal with Adventist Health/Central Valley Network to build a new medical plaza in Fowler specializing in pediatric care, among other services. The two nonprofit organizations bought equal shares of a 16-acre parcel of property on Highway 99 for a pediatric and adult care building.

The new pediatric care center will be named in Bee Sweet’s honor. Construction is set to start this year and it is expected to open in 2016.

Suntrapak said the Marderosian’s donation will support the new center’s operations and provide the flexibility to possibly expand services.

Marderosian said it was an easy decision to donate to the hospital, especially after the announcement that it would build a pediatric care center in Fowler.

“We believe in Valley Children’s mission to bring this type of health care to families in our community and the outlying community,” Marderosian said.

Bee Sweet Citrus employee Rosie Hernandez said the new center is greatly needed.

“It is going to help a lot,” she said. “Now, we won’t have to drive a long way when our children get very sick.”

Earlier this year, Valley Children’s Healthcare received $540,000 from the Leon S. Peters Foundation for the center.

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