Gonnella Frozen Products, LLC, a segment of the Gonnella Baking Company Family, participated in Greater Hazleton’s United Way “A Day of Caring” in September. Seven Gonnella employees volunteered to remodel the former Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church into a free, mobile healthcare clinic.


Drew Hoben, Gonnella's plant manager, rallied the Gonnella team after becoming familiar with “A Day of Caring” from working in the Lehigh Valley. "I've only been here for eight weeks as the plant manager. I figured it was a great team-building opportunity to get to know our peers," Hoben said. "I was excited that when I sent the offer out there, we had so many people who wanted to participate."


Throughout the day, some employees built framing around the property’s pipes and installed a drop ceiling to make the building more structurally sound. Others reupholstered massage tables as repurposed exam and reception tables. The rest of the Gonnella team sorted through all rooms, organizing supplies to be used in the facility or to be donated. At the end of the day, the future healthcare clinic was clean and ready for patients.


“Being part of this event further supports one of our corporate goals: to contribute our time, energy and resources to support the communities we serve,” said Gonnella’s vice president of manufacturing Kent Beernink. “Gonnella values family inside and out of the company. We encourage our employees to volunteer together to get to know each other better and establish that family connection.”


The annual “A Day of Caring” kicked off Greater Hazleton’s United Way 2013 campaign, which raises funds for dozens of Hazle Township non-profit organizations such as the American Cancer Society and Helping Hands. The seven Gonnella employees made up a large portion of the fifteen total employees from six companies who worked in various United Way agencies during “A Day of Caring.”


"It's an opportunity to give back to the community," said Gonnella employee Michelle Gulden. "We're all in a situation where we're blessed. Some of us had needed support in the past, so it's a way to give back."