Community

Rich’s Donates Computers to Schoolchildren in Rural Guatemala

While visiting a new shrimp supplier in Guatemala this summer, members of Rich Products’ seafood team toured a local school the shrimp supplier strongly supports. Witnessing the school’s lagging technological capabilities, Rich’s was presented with an opportunity to extend their commitment to Bettering Our Communities beyond the borders of St. Simon’s Island. Several months later, the 510 students of the country schoolhouse are expanding their horizons, one keystroke at a time, thanks to Rich’s generous donation of 35 legacy laptops.

Pescanova is targeted to be a key shrimp supplier for SeaPak, and the company’s Guatemalan aqua farm and processing plant is their biggest operation. Rich SeaPak’s Vice President of Procurement and Regulatory Affairs, Ray Jones, travelled to the rural nation this past summer to meet with Pescanova’s leaders and better understand the Guatemalan operations that supply raw shrimp to Richs’ Brownsville plant. During the visit, a common bond was formed over the two corporation’s shared passion for community activism.

Ray visited a local private school that the Pescanova plant proudly supports with Pescanova plant manager, Mike Corser. The school, known as Centro Experimental Del Pacifico (CEPAC), is located in Champerico, Retalhuleu, Guatemala. Many of Pescanova’s employees were educated at CEPAC and their children are now enrolled in the school.

Seafood is the only dependable industry in this area of Guatemala, and Pescanova is the primary employer in the region. Consequently, the worldwide seafood leader feels a tremendous obligation to support its local community; an obligation they passionately and rigorously uphold with dedicated support to education.

“Pescanova is so proud of the school and the impact they’ve made there, and their commitment to the educational needs of the local youth is infectious,” said Ray. “I was so impressed with their efforts to help the struggling school that I had to find a way for Rich’s to get involved.”

While visiting the school, educators mentioned that they only had one working computer, which hardly supported the learning needs of the 510 children currently attending CEPAC. Ray saw this need as the perfect opportunity for Rich’s to make a difference.

“I reached out to our Information Systems department in Buffalo and made a request for any legacy computers that could be made available for donation; the age of the machines was not a concern for the school, anything would be of value to the students,” said Ray. “Within a day, Jim Rogers notified me that Rich’s could donate 35 legacy computers to the rural Guatemalan schoolchildren.”

The legacy laptops, which were 4-5 years old, have little value to Rich’s and most community organizations aren’t interested in donations of aged computers. The Guatemala school graciously accepted the computers after they’d been swept clean of all programming by Rich’s IS department and fixed-up and re-programmed by the Pescanova IS team. Employees of the Central American fishery also built a dedicated computer lab at the school, just one of many ongoing building and maintenance projects Pescanova initiates at the school each year.