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Madera’s largest employers donates $25K

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Madera Rescue Mission executive director Mike Unger, left, receives a $12,500 donation from Ardagh Group representatives, Tammie Keyes and Eric Smith on May 8.


With money handed down from the corporate office, the Ardagh Group donated $12,500 to both the Madera County Food Bank and the Madera Rescue Mission.

Plant Manager Eric Smith handed Mike Unger and Ryan McWherter, leaders of the two organizations, respectively, checks on May 8.

“My team went through and identified groups who would do the most good and we picked the Madera County Food Bank and the Madera Rescue Mission,” Smith said. “Because of the COVID-19 problem and the need all over the country, my company said what they could do for their plants and local communities. They put away $2 million and chopped it up with all of our facilities to give to the local communities because of what we’re dealing with. Because of what’s going on, let’s figure out what we can do to help.”

Smith said both groups were blown away by the amount of the check and said that it will help them spread goodwill throughout the county.

“Grateful and appreciative is an understatement. It helps them along,” Smith said “The rescue mission had some air conditioning issues. They said this will help them push through. They don’t get donations like this a lot. We thought about chopping it up and giving out $5,000 donations. We figured with this type of funds with the Madera County Food Bank and the Madera Rescue Mission, they are able to help more people and spread it out. That’s kind of why we picked them. They are great organizations. A lot of our workers live and work here and were thrilled we picked them. It was an overwhelming consensus to pick these organizations.”

McWherter told Smith that the donation will definitely help in what they are able to do to help feed the Madera community.

“It’s a great feeling to help people out,” Smith said. “Unfortunately, we can’t do a lot, but once we can, it’s a really good feeling. We toured both facilities. I was amazed how well the food bank was run. I was talking to Ryan and he said this puts us over the top with what they were able to do. They are able to make this money stretch pretty good. He said this is amazing and will help quite a bit. It’s a great feeling for us.”

Ardagh Group is the largest employer in Madera County with approximately 335 in its Madera plant, which specializes in glass manufacturing.

“The Ardagh Group is a glass container manufacturing group,” Smith said. “The Madera facility strictly does glass. As a group, we do glass and cans for the food and beverage industry. We jars, liquor bottles, wine bottles, baby food jars and most of the food and beverage containers.”

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