The public will get a rare opportunity Saturday to see inside the plant that Nestle Waters North America uses to produce Zephyrhills bottled water. But it will come with some money for area charities as well.
The company says it will donate $50,000 in honor of its 50th anniversary Saturday to organization that help support cleanup and education events at parks along the Hillsborough River, the company announced in a release. Splitting the donation are Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful and Tampa Bay Watch.
“One of our missions at Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful is to provide environmental education and volunteer opportunities for the community,” said Debra Evenson, executive director of the organization, in a release. “With the money contributed by the Zephyrhills brand, and the support of loyal Floridians, we will be able to expand our involvement in cleanup events, meeting at area parks and disseminating throughout communities along the Hillsborough River, to help preserve the delicate ecosystem of the Hillsborough River and Tampa Bay.”
The donation was supported by a social media campaign conducted by Nestle that invited consumers to share their favorite things about Florida. More than 23,700 items were shared, which Nestle donated a dollar for each, and then rounded up to the $50,000 donation.
The checks will be officially presented during a community open house at the Zephyrhills plant Oct. 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Local residents and businesses, along with government officials and employees will have a chance to take part in a free day of family activities, including a tour of the bottling facility, a barbecue lunch, face painting, games, and a visit to the WaterVentures Learning Lab.
The lab is a traveling science center that teaches families and young people about environmental stewardship. It’s supported by Nestle, and visited more than 250 schools over the past year. It features watershed tables, recycling exhibits, a relief map of Florida’s water features, and a display of the Florida aquifer, where the spring water for the Zephyrhills brand is obtained.
The Zephyrhills plant, located at 4330 20th St., in Zephyrhills, employs 250 people locally, and 900 throughout the region. Nestle bought the brand in 1982, part of a company that was originally founded in 1964.