Rotary clubs help with Vermont dairy recovery and food assistance

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MONTPELIER — Thanks to a donation from Vermont Rotary Clubs across the state, Vermonters in need will continue to receive fresh dairy products from the Vermont Foodbank for weeks to come.

Continuing a collaboration begun earlier this year to connect Vermont dairy assistance to Vermonters, the Foodbank will receive food donations of Vermont yogurt and butter in support of their food assistance efforts. Ten Vermont rotary clubs joined forces to raise more than $10,000, adding morefinancial support to the effort already in place to recover Vermont milk.

In collaboration with Dairy Farmers of America, Commonwealth Dairy LLC and Ploughgate Creamery are turning milk from Vermont dairies into yogurt and butter. Earlier this year, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture helped coordinate the original dairy recovery program that began with $60,000 in funding from the Vermont Community Foundation. This donation covered the cost of milk, ingredients, and processing to create 48,000 cups of Green Mountain Yogurt and 11,500 gallons of Hood Dairy 2 percent milk.

"When we heard about the need to recover raw milk from local Vermont dairy farms while creating a new, temporary food supply for the Vermont Foodbank, Rotarians sprang into action to help Vermont farmers, children, and food-insecure families," said Martin Cohn, past president of the Brattleboro Rotary Club. "We hope that the collaboration shown in this project will serve as a model for other states."

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The Brattleboro Rotary Club and the Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary Club each contributed $1,500 to the effort.

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Joining the effort, Ploughgate Creamery of Waitsfield is receiving cream from Weybridge's Monument Farms to produce 110 pounds of handmade butter per week for 4 weeks.

"I am proud to live in a state where the community comes first! Thank you to the Vermont Rotary Clubs and Food Bank for organizing this amazing program," said Marisa Mauro, owner/operator of Ploughgate Creamery.

"This is a wonderful example of how Vermonters respond in times of strife! Everyone works together to reach common goals," said Jon Rooney of Monument Farms.

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The Rotary donation also supports Commonwealth Yogurt's continued supply of 48,000 cups of yogurt over four weeks. These donations will serve hundreds of people over the course of the coming weeks, providing nutritious dairy products to Vermont communities in need while preventing the waste of food.

Additional support in the form of transportation of yogurt to the Vermont Foodbank will come from Cabot Cheese. Cabot will be picking up Green Mountain Creamery yogurt from the Commonwealth Dairy plant in Brattleboro and delivering it to the Vermont Foodbank's Barre distribution center for the next three weeks, enabling more Vermonters to benefit from this charitable effort.

Secretary Anson Tebbetts of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture said, "This is what Vermont is all about. Neighbors helping neighbors. Thank you Rotarians, farmers, and businesses. You and so many are helping those in need."


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