Associates at Perdue in Milford celebrated the heritages of their native countries on Friday, October 10. The event is designed to allow employees to celebrate their heritage and share their customs with other associates.
“This is a really fun event and the associates look forward to it every year,” said Stacey Norton, Human Resources Manager for the Milford plant. “Anyone who wants to participate are provided a table where they create displays and can bring foods or other things to share in order to teach other associates about the country they came from.”
The event began in the fall of 2004 although Ms. Norton said that the event has not been held every year since it began. Associates displayed native clothing, pottery, jewelry and food on the tables set up under a tent in the parking lot of the Milford complex. There were 12 countries represented at the event and Perdue awarded prizes for the best outfit and country board.
“This event is a lot of fun,” said Luz Outten who was wearing a dress similar to that worn in her native country of Puerto Rico. “I couldn’t find anything to wear for this today, so I made this dress last night.”
“We have an extremely diverse workforce,” said Ms. Norton. “With over 1,600 associates at this location, a large percentage are of nationalities other than the United States. We want them to have an opportunity to celebrate their culture and share those cultures with fellow associates.”
Carlisle Fire Company provided a barbecue chicken meal to all associates who were able to view the displays during their breaks during the plant’s three shifts. In addition, the Wellness Center located on site offered associates free flu shots and wellness information as part of the celebration.
“We are very proud of our Wellness Center as it is really a doctor service,” Ms. Norton said. “We have a doctor on site regularly as well as diabetes and nutrition counselors. Any associate who must visit the Wellness Center is paid while they are being seen by the doctor. Associates can bring their children to the clinic when they are sick, bring them for well-baby checkups. Rather than have them work when they are sick, we want them to be able to get the treatment they need, which is why we provide this as a service to our associates.”
During Perdue’s Diversity Day, the different displays included information about such countries as Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Guyana, Haiti and Korea. At the Mexico table, foods native to the country were provided for associates to taste while other countries offered tastes of native drinks. Many of the associates were dressed in native outfits as well.
“This is a great event and we look forward to it each year,” said Kim Huey. “It is so much fun to see all the costumes, hear them play music native to their countries and share their culture with the rest of us.”