Levi Strauss sends 160 employees to the Valley

Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh even stopped by the high school on May 3 to help out and check on his team’s hard work.|

Levi Strauss & Co. celebrates Community Day each May – and, for the company, it is a global day of giving back in which more than 5,000 employees around the world got out of the office to volunteer in their communities.

This year, the company’s activities in its San Francisco-based headquarters focused on its neighbors in the North Bay post-wildfires. The company stepped up immediately after the fires, donating more than $300,000 to help the most vulnerable, contributing nearly 1,000 hours of employee volunteer time, and by hosting a sample sale that provided more than 1,500 fire victims with free products.

As a follow up to those activities, on May 3 the company sent 900 employees to the North Bay and 160 employees to sites across Sonoma Valley in an effort coordinated by the nonprofit, Hands on Bay Area.

At La Luz Center, Levi employees volunteered by painting the children’s care center and picnic tables, reorganizing a shed, and building a new compost area that will help support the nutrition classes held at La Luz.

At El Verano School, volunteers helped to build a new garden bed to bring some plant life to the yard at the elementary school. To highlight the new garden area, volunteers also painted a welcome sign and helped create a drainage area around the fence to reduce flooding.

At Pets Lifeline, volunteers cleaned out an area of the shelter that will be renovated in August, painting signs and sprucing up the garden area in front of the shelter, and helping to make kennels safer and more secure.

At Sonoma Valley Community Health Center, volunteers painted a mural on the front side of the Community Health Center that will focus on celebrating the history and diversity of Sonoma Valley. They also helped to assemble comfort kits that will be distributed to kids who are getting their checkups.

At Sonoma Valley High School, 70 volunteers helped with a new mural, netting, gravel replacement and painting succulents in beds. Volunteers also worked trimming, weeding and landscaping near the school dragon statue. They completed their campus sprucing just in time for the Authors Festival on May 4 and for senior project night on May 17. Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh even stopped by the high school on May 3 to help out and check on his team’s hard work.

At Dunbar School, 45 team members did campus beautification including painting lines on track, the blacktop, play area updates and painting benches and cleaned up the outdoor area. The volunteers also helped to develop a mindfulness corner with sitting areas, murals and a bench.

At Teen Services Sonoma, 20 volunteers helped create a community garden and painted and beautified the outdoor areas. They worked with Sonoma Valley High Senior Erica Lee on her bee pollinator landscaping senior project – planning and designing a garden that would benefit bees and humans. Lee also worked with Teen Services Executive Director Cristin Felso to plan and implement new landscaping, a mural, and new patio furniture with the intent of creating an environment that people, animals and insects may enjoy. Levi Strauss’s Ela Khostovan has designed a mural of Native California wildflowers with bees buzzing about with a Dragon hovering close by as the protector of all. Lee dedicated her project to Brandon Barmore, a SVHS student who died last year as he had planned for his senior project to focus on the same environmental cause. She will be erecting a plaque in the garden in his memory.

The Levi’s team explained to the local site staff that they understand that, while the headlines have moved on since the October fires, communities like Sonoma Valley are still grappling with the challenges of recovery and rebuilding – and they wanted to contribute to those efforts.

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