Conagra Brands is donating $5,000 for trail maintenance


IMLAY CITY — Conagra Brands, owner of Vlasic Foods in Imlay City, has donated $5,000 for continued improvements and maintenance to the Polly Ann Trail.

On Tuesday, Jan. 4, Conagra Brands spokesperson Tim Wrona announced that the donation was one of five awards presented to sustainability-focused nonprofits, as selected by Conagra employees.

In a press release, Wrona said the annual Sustainable Development Awards is “an employee-led program that encourages development and implementation of innovative ideas related to sustainable production and business practices.”

He said that in 2021, Conagra employees submitted more than 200 sustainability projects to conserve water, reduce waste and save energy; underscoring the company’s commitment to nourishing and restoring the planet.

The Polly Ann Trail, a portion of which travels behind the Vlasic plant in Imlay City, is the recent benefactor of a $5,000 donation from Vlasic’s parent company, Conagra.

Wrona said winning teams are honored during an internal celebration and afforded the opportunity to select a deserving local organization.

Having the option, Imlay City Conagra employees selected Polly Ann Trail Milestones and Benefits to be the recipient of the funds.

David Howell, Chairman of Friends of the Polly Ann Trail group, was quick to respond to news of the donation.

“The Friends of the Polly Ann Trail group is very grateful for the $5,000 donation from Conagra,” Howell said. “They have been good neighbors to the trail, which passes right behind the Imlay City plant.

“We would like to express our sincere thanks for the donation and for the selection of our group by Conagra employees,” he continued. “These funds will help us to continue our work to make the Polly Ann Trail an important part of Lapeer County recreation.”

Howell said the trail is in need of sustained maintenance, and that the Conagra donation will be helpful in that process.

“Most of the work on the trail is done by volunteers,” he said, “and almost all of that is being done by Dave VanderBerghe.

“The maintenance funding from Conagra will help a great deal in paying for gasoline and the ‘wear and tear’ on Dave’s vehicles.”

Howell added that the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources (MDNR) provides some funds to help maintain the trail. However, he said the funds are not sufficient to pay for all of the trail’s ongoing and continuing maintenance needs.

“Unfortunately,” Howell said. “Lapeer County, which is the trail manager, does not provide any funds for trail maintenance.”