Goya Foods stood front and center in the Jeffrey/Vance fundraiser

How can HPD officers not love Goya Foods?

The nation’s largest Hispanic-owned food supply company heard about the ATO fundraiser for Senior Police Officer Bill Jeffrey, killed by a lifelong felon on Sept. 20, and wounded Sgt. Michael Vance.

It took only a few minutes for the company and its Houston employees to snap into action, action that Alex Garcia, Goya sales manager for Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, was an easy move.

“We love what you do for us,” Garcia said, referring to Houston police officers and every first responder for that matter. “Goya and law enforcement go hand-in-hand.”

The support network includes the FBI’s Stacey Schindler, an agent in charge of Gman, a fundraising support group that steps up for law enforcement officers in need. Agent Schindler no sooner gave Garcia the heads-up that he put Goya’s police supporters into motion.

“Stacey got the ball rolling,” Garcia recounted. “Would Goya be interested? Yes, of course! It happened very quickly.

Schindler said the GMan Classic Golf Tournament, an annual fundraising event to raise money for local, state and federal law enforcement officers in need, will be held the first Tuesday in May 2022. The event always draws heavy HPD support.

It counts Goya as one of its major sponsors. Goya plays a big role in the tournament just as it did in the latest HPD fundraiser.

“From there (about two weeks before the Nov. 5 event) we called our barbecue team. It was available that day. We used our team – a couple of the guys are on our sales team that work with us – to get all our people together. They cooked brisket, chicken, sausage and potato salad for 600.”

The team’s efforts actually evolved into that number. Initially they planned for a few hundred, but Garcia said after a conversation with ATO’s Gabriela Gregory he determined that “we have to stretch it to an even bigger number.”

He said it eventually reached more than 600 BBQ plates, each garnering $15.

Goya, it should be noted, donated the food, the preparation and the food servings.

That’s not all.

“I asked Goya for a check,” Garcia reported, “and they gave me one for $4,000.”

That’s still not all the generosity of the company owned and operated by Bob Unanue, a longtime, highly recognized supporter of law enforcement.

We recognize him here for the support that also included the donation of 10 Goya “big baskets” worth $100 each. The baskets were auctioned as part of the fundraiser which wound up netting more than $122,000 for the Jeffrey family and to help curb Vance’s ongoing medical expenses.

And, with Goya, we keep saying the same thing: That’s still not all!

The company, which has been in business 85 years, anted up its team service for “barbecue cooked on site” for 100 persons. It was auctioned!

“There’s a lot of good people who work with me,” Garcia said. “That makes my job easier.”

He cited two Goya “HPD links.”

“There are two very close HPD officers who are within the Goya family,” he said, naming Ingrid Pinzon, “who is on the mayor’s detail and is the niece of one of the top salespeople for the company,” and Kayla Holland, who I’ve known since she was a little girl. Her dad is a well-known hitting instructor who worked with my kids. Kayla was a star softball player for UH before she joined HPD.”

Garcia gave credit to the boss, who well deserved it. Unanue grew up in the northeast but made Texas his home and the headquarters for this privately held Hispanic company. “He always has been about the community, about family and above law enforcement,” Garcia said. He reminded that Mr. Unanue has been the guest of two presidents, Obama and Trump.

In his last appearance – in the White House Rose Garden – the Goya owner spoke of Hispanic initiative. He also announced that Goya would donate two million pounds of food-to-food pantries throughout the United States. In his appearance with President and Mrs. Obama, Mr. Unanue announced that Goya would put the First Lady-inspired “My Plate” logo “on our cans of beans.”

So, this is the latest wrap-up of Goya’s generosity.

The Badge & Gun believes we haven’t heard the last one!