big check for food bank

FUNDS FOR THE FOOD BANK — CEO and co-owner of Papapietro Perry Winery, Renae Perry, stands with the $6,000 check for the Redwood Empire Food Bank. 

Papapietro Perry Winery recently raised $6,000 for the Redwood Empire Food Bank by donating $2 for every bottle of wine sold directly from the winery.

CEO and co-owner of Papapietro Perry Winery, Renae Perry, said the decision to raise funds for hunger relief stemmed from when she was watching TV and saw how many people were waiting in line to get food for their family.

“We are obviously humans and feeling terrible for all of the people who are suffering as a result of losing their jobs. I happened to be watching TV, and seeing the lines of people at food banks just broke my heart,” Perry said.

She said she felt for all of the people forced to wait in lines for hours in order to get food.

“I just can’t stand the thought of children going to bed hungry and people panicking about how to feed their family,” she said. “It (the fundraiser) seemed like something we could do to try to help.”

After setting up the $2 donation per bottle purchase, the program took off.

“In the best of times, Papapietro Perry is known for food and wine experiences. We felt a calling to make sure that our neighbors are being fed,” Perry said in a press release from the winery.

Perry said they chose to donate the funds to the Redwood Empire Food Bank because of the food bank’s wide reach in food distribution.

“I have some experience with them from the Wine Road,” Perry said. “I was the president of the Wine Road for several years, and so I was familiar with what they do, and I know that they feed into other food pantries. They are the main source so rather than going to the smaller ones, we went to them,” Perry said.

The Redwood Empire Food Bank helps feed people from Sonoma County all the way up to the Oregon border and in the past has served 82,000 seniors and families annually.

Food bank CEO David Goodman said in a press release that that number is expected to double in the next few months because of the economic impact of the pandemic.

“Since the start of this crisis, participation at our distribution sites has increased by up to 200%. Over the coming weeks and months, the number of people we serve in an average year will double, from 82,000 to 164,000.”

Once the winery raised the funds, Perry cut a check at the end of May for the food bank.

When asked where you can find those giant checks, she laughed and said you can get them made at a local printer in town.

“They were quite kind about it; they have a template and they discounted it a little bit since it was a donation,” Perry said.

This wasn’t the winery’s first time helping local nonprofits. Previously, the winery has helped with donations for the K-9 Companions for Independence with a “Dogs for Dogs” weekend event where they sold hot dogs to raise funds for the group.

Perry said they like to give from the heart and not just give for others to pat them on the back.

The family-owned winery in Dry Creek Valley specializes in Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Owners Ben and Yolanda Papapietro and Bruce and Renae Perry first became involved with wine making when they started it as a hobby in their San Francisco basement in 1980.

During the shutdown, the winery has been doing virtual video wine tastings. They reopened on May 30 for reserved tastings on their outdoor patio.

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