Initiative Foods employees receive relief from crowd funding campaign

It’s been nearly a month since a fire tore through Initiative Foods in Sanger and leaving dozens without a job.

A GoFundMe campaign was set up to help raise money for those employees and the money was handed out Friday to those in need.

Although the nightmare is still fresh, all that’s happened since the fire makes it all surreal for former employees.

“It’s still kind of hard to believe that the plant burned down and all the circumstances,” Kellen Taylor said

Taylor and most employees have new jobs but some are still looking.

But they all gathered to receive one last check from donations through a GoFundMe campaign that raised over $60,000.

“It’s going to do a great deal for myself,” Taylor said. “For my family, my kids just started school. It just helps out tremendously.”

“It turned out to about $580 a piece,” Owner John Ypma said. “Which is almost an additional week of payment, and that’s going to be really helpful.”

Ypma also gave an update on overall operations as they slowly get production back up and running with co-packers that will allow the company to hold onto customers.

Demolition crews are still here clearing debris in Sanger, with the next step is to rebuild. It may not be here, but Ypma said he wants it to remain in Sanger.”

“Sanger’s our home,” he said. “We’d like to continue to have Sanger as our home.”

He’d also like to bring every employee back one day and although that may take some time, right now, there are little things that keep this work family smiling.

Like the team members who just had a set of twins on Sunday.

“It just feels good, you know,” Ypma said. “That’s what we do. We make baby food, we love babies. How can’t you, seeing the pictures of their baby, yeah, lighten the moment.”

“It was more of a family than a company,” Taylor said. “So when we have a new addition to the family, it’s always a blessing.”