Building Stronger Communities
One of the most important benefits that we have as being a small family-owned business is that we are able to work in our communities in ways that make a big difference. We choose to work in our local communities, as we feel that is where we are able to make the greatest impact given the financial and human resources that we have. We hope this inspires other businesses to do the same and thank you, our great customers, for supporting small businesses that help to create the true strength of America.
Each year we support over 800 local organizations and events here in Vermont and spend thousands of hours volunteering our time to make sure that our neighbors and communities prosper alike. It's not about our corporate responsibility; rather, it’s our human responsibility to one another and the place that we call home.
Thank you for giving us this ability.
The Orton Family
The Vermont Country Store Helps Heat Homes
Winter is no match for Vermonters! This week, Eliot Orton, proprietor, and employees from The Vermont Country Store volunteered to split and stacked wood in Weston, Vermont for our neighbors who need help heating their homes. On January 14, employees from The Vermont Country Store split and stacked wood in Weston that will be given to residents in need of help to heat their homes through Just Neighbors, a local non-profit organization that provides assistance to meet emergency heating and other basic needs. Our team made short work of over four cords of wood to help our neighbors stay warm during the coldest months of the year.
In 2014, Just Neighbors helped 116 households in Windsor and Windham Counties, providing 15 cords of wood and nearly $30,000 in direct assistance. Learn more about Just Neighbors at www.justneighborsvt.org. Want to help folks in your town stay warm? Contact your local Community Action Agency to learn what you can do.
Helping Hands for the Holidays
The Vermont Country Store partnered with The Vermont Foodbank to "Pack for Good." The Vermont Country Store helped make the holidays brighter for 500 families in Rutland County by sponsoring the Vermont Foodbank’s Pack for Good. On December 15, dozens of volunteers gathered at the Vermont Foodbank’s Rutland facility and packed 500 boxes, each containing the makings for a family holiday dinner. The Vermont Country Store contributed $5,000 to cover food costs and also donated the boxes, so everyone receiving their holiday delivery got the same packaging as our customers. The filled boxes were distributed that day to local food shelves to share with families in need.
To learn more about hunger in Vermont and how you can help, visit www.vtfoodbank.org.
Gift Wrap for Good
In-store charity gift wrapping ties up the holidays with a big, loving bow for eight local non-profit organizations. The Vermont Country Store found a new way to tie “service” to “community” this holiday season by inviting eight local non-profit organizations into our stores to offer gift wrapping in exchange for a small donation. On Saturdays and Sundays in December, customers in our Weston and Rockingham locations could have their purchases hand wrapped and ready for gift giving by members of the community.
Organizations included: Chester-Andover Family Center, Flood Brook Student Activities Committee, Green Mountain Union High School, Londonderry Food Pantry, Neighborhood Connections, Springfield Humane Society, Springfield Parent Child Center, and the Wilder Library.
The Vermont Country Store made the opportunity even sweeter by matching the contributions collected by each agency. This is the start of what we hope will become an annual event that creates even closer ties to our communities.
Giving the Gift of Life
Employees of The Vermont Country Store take time to give the gift of life. Employees of The Vermont Country Store and their family members took time this summer to give the gift of life at company-sponsored blood drives in June and August. The American Red Cross blood collection staff came to our locations, so employees had the convenience of giving blood, then returning to work to go about their day. We kept the smiles going with midday barbecues to celebrate the success of collecting over 50 pints between the two drives. Each pint collected can save the lives of up to six people! To find out how you can donate blood in your community, visit www.redcross.org.
Blankets to Help and Heal
With the help of over 50 fifth graders, employees of The Vermont Country Store made blankets for Vermont children with cancer. Employees of The Vermont Country Store invited over 50 fifth-grade students from Rutland Intermediate School to make dozens of fleece blankets for children with cancer attending Camp-Ta-Kum Ta. This was the second year we collaborated with local students on the Help and Heal project, which teaches empathy, service above self, and self-worth. It was a wonderful opportunity for our employees to engage with young people, and share their passion for serving others.
Camp Ta-Kum-Ta is the only camp in Vermont for children ages 7 to 17 with cancer who are undergoing treatment, and for those who have recovered, at no cost to their families. The 70 blankets made at The Vermont Country Store were presented to camp founder Ted Kessler, who founded Camp Ta-Kum-Ta in 1984. To learn more about Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, visit www.takumta.org.
Creating a Community Gateway by Planting Trees
“He who plants a tree, plants a hope.” ~ Lucy Larcom.
The Vermont Country Store employees helped plant 75 trees as part of the Rutland Blooms beautification effort. Employees from The Vermont Country Store not only helped plant 75 flowering crab apple trees as part of a Rutland Blooms beautification project, but also sowed the seeds of community pride that will blossom for years to come.
The trees were planted along a stretch of Route 7 that serves as a gateway to the City of Rutland, but has been blighted in recent years. This project is part of a long-term effort to help restore pride and a sense of community to the city’s neighborhoods that have been affected by crime and neglect. Find out more about Rutland Blooms at www.rutlandblooms.org
Helping Schools Is All in a Day’s Work
The Vermont Country Store’s employees get down and dirty while helping to install a new playground at Flood Brook Union School in Londonderry, Vermont. Children learn when they play, and they need a safe place to do that, so employees of The Vermont Country Store joined a group of community members to help build a new playground at Flood Brook Union School in Londonderry, Vermont.
Volunteers worked from the ground up to construct climbing structures, swings and slides that will improve children’s physical fitness and stimulate imaginative play. The grounds were re-designed to attract people of every age, so they will be a resource for the whole community. Contributions were also a collective effort, including funding from public and private sources. Even the school’s students were actively involved, collecting pennies that contributed meaningfully to the project.
Agriculture and Education
In support of agriculture and education, The Vermont Country Store managers recently worked up a sweat volunteering at Smokey House Center in Danby, Vermont. The Vermont Country Store’s management team – 35 strong – jump-started the outdoor spring clean-up at Smokey House Center in Danby, Vermont. Team members spent their time on familiar farm tasks like preparing their garden for planting and cleaning out perennial beds, stacking wood, sorting beans for planting, and getting their grounds ready for the spring and summer seasons.
Smokey House Center encompasses more than 5,000 acres of mostly conserved forest and farmland in southern Vermont. In addition to managing those lands, Smokey House promotes sustainable agricultural and forestry practices and provides educational programming that enables young people to develop the skills needed to be productive and self-sufficient members of their communities. Through a partnership with the Tutorial Center of Manchester, Smokey House serves as an alternative high school campus for students who learn best outside of a traditional classroom. Learn more about Smokey House Center at www.smokeyhouse.org.
Delivering Hope to Fight Hunger
The Vermont Country Store delivers hope to the Pittsford Food Shelf. The Vermont Foodbank makes a delivery to the Pittsford Food Shelf, which has support from the Foodbank’s Coop Buying Program. This program, funded with $20,000 from The Vermont Country Store, provides matching support of $2,000 to 10 needy food shelves and meal sites in southern Vermont that are experiencing exploding demand and a shortage of resources.
Partner agencies are: Bennington County Meals on Wheels, Brigid’s Kitchen, Guilford Food Pantry, Chester-Andover Family Center, Pittsford Food Shelf, Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf, Rutland City Rescue Mission, Rutland Community Cupboard, Rutland County Women’s Network & Shelter and the Second Congregational Church (Londonderry, VT).
The Vermont Country Store’s gift effectively doubles the purchasing power of each of these agencies when ordering from the Vermont Foodbank to buy staples that are available at pennies on the dollar. To learn more about hunger in your community and to take action against hunger and poverty in Vermont, visit www.vtfoodbank.org