OGDEN - Holiday volunteers from Great Salt Lake Minerals Corp. hosted a Christmas ice cream party for the residents of the George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home this afternoon, after delivering a truckload of $11,000 worth of food to the Catholic Community Services Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank in the morning and loading holiday food bags for more than 1,000 families.
The company also contributed $1,000 each to the Cache County Community Food Bank in Logan and the Family Connection Center Food Bank in Layton.
"GSL Minerals is like Santa. For the third year in a row, they have worked with us to ensure that needy families in Northern Utah have a wonderful Christmas meal," said Marcie Valdez, director of the food bank and Northern Utah Catholic Community Services. "This donation, and the generosity GSL Minerals has shown us all year, exemplify Utah's spirit of giving and community service."
At the Veterans Home, volunteers from GSL Minerals' workforce - many of them veterans themselves - mingled with the residents, served ice cream, cookies and drinks to the home's residents and staff, and led a sing-a-long of Christmas carols. Forty students from Farr West Elementary School joined in the singing.
"This is a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays," said P.J. Woodbury, activities director for the Veterans Home, which opened in January. "It's our first Christmas, and its so nice to have a neighbor like GSL Minerals volunteer to put on this party."
"It is a privilege and an honor to help our neighbors," said Corey Milne, site manager of Great Salt Lake Minerals. "We are thrilled to work with the Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank each year, and now to work with the new Ogden Veterans Home, to make a brighter Christmas."
"I'm proud to be here to help, and so happy that we can give back at this time of year," said Chad Larsen, a GSL Minerals maintenance planner who served a tour of duty in Iraq, as he dished up ice cream for the veterans at the George E. Whalen home.
The truckload of food for the Food Bank included holiday candy canes, yams, cranberries and gravy, personal hygiene items generally not distributed by food banks such as toothpaste and shampoo, as well as thousands of fresh apples and oranges from Ogden wholesaler Carlo's Produce.
Last month GSL contributed $7,000 to the food banks for Thanksgiving.
"Needs are so acute in the current economy, and we are committed to helping the local food banks," Milne said.
Great Salt Lake Minerals produces organic-approved sulfate of potash specialty fertilizer (SOP) from the minerals of the Great Salt Lake using clean solar power as its primary energy source. GSL's sulfate of potash provides vital nutrients for fruits, vegetables, nuts and other high-value food crops. GSL is the largest producer of SOP in North America, and its product is all-natural, chemical-free and organic-approved.
"We help growers feed America, so it is fitting to help local non-profits feed and care for vulnerable citizens of Northern Utah," said Milne. More than 90 percent of Great Salt Lake Minerals' 350 employees live in Weber, Cache and Davis counties.