By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
The Good News
Placeholder Image

Every now and again a call comes through that makes my day.

Sometimes it comes by e-mail and sometimes by card. I’ve recently begun challenging myself to be more ‘present’ and less plugged in. Truthfully it’s hard, but nothing worth having comes easy. So, being a prisoner to my Smartphone is my new greatest challenge.

As part of my habit-altering strategy, I’ve also decided to see what type of dent I can make in my 3,000-plus rollover minutes AT&T keeps shaking its head at. What this means is I’m calling my mom, my number one guy and my friends on a more regular basis – like the good ol’ days. I’m also answering calls versus letting them roll to voicemail.

That last sentence might seem a bit cold or trite; my personal phone is also used for work business and contrary to what some might think I do not take work calls at all hours of the day. Most especially when on deadline. Creative minds are fickle and interrupting the process is not wise.

Earlier this month though, I stretched myself and took a call from my cell phone on a Monday. The caller was Loren Werth, President and owner of Food 4 Thought, LLC. I had written a piece on Werth and his partnership with Oakdale schools in the previous week’s paper.

These calls can go either way. We never truly know how our work is received unless we’re told. More times than not we hear from the displeased. For some reason it’s easier to pick up the phone and tell someone you got it wrong, than to call and say thank you.

Not too many take the time to verbalize gratitude and that’s okay. I take pride in what I do. I love my designated beat and more times than not, the smiles and giggles shared with the people while on assignment make it all worth it.

The beauty of Werth’s phone call had very little to do with me and the job I had done, but more to do with the way in which I came upon learning of him and his company.

Food 4 Thought, LLC delivers California grown fresh produce to Oakdale schools two to three times a week. As a parent, this brings me much pride. But that’s not why I was notified about Werth and his company.

I was first contacted by Angie Cazares, OJUSD Manager of Food Service early in the school year. She was excited to share with me the Farmers Markets on Campus, which the four elementary sites would be hosting. Scheduling caused me to miss the first go-round, fortunately I made it the second time through and was thrilled with the 30-minute presentation.

This one individual speaker, engaging with the students, as he asked ag-related questions of them. Seeing the students get excited about produce and farming, with a 12-foot table of fresh stacked produce serving as the back drop.

A follow-up phone interview with Werth was how I learned of his initial relationship with Cazares and OJUSD. He sang her praises and shared his passion. In turn, I did my job and relayed the information via a story.

During that follow-up phone call Werth shared his gratitude. In turn I shared mine. His job matters. Sharing his passion with these young people is giving them tools to make choices they might not have had otherwise. Mostly I shared my gratitude for Cazares and her simple FYI e-mail and that’s the good news.

As we race through this abyss, sending electronic correspondence via e-mail, text message or voicemail we wait. Then, every once and a while we learn not only was it received but appreciated. That’s good stuff.


Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.