Vermont Groups Join Forces to Aid State Food Assistance Effort

12 January 2021

January 12, 2021 | Montpelier, VT – In the ongoing effort to connect Vermont food and food products to those struggling during the pandemic, three Vermont entities have teamed up to help donate cheese to the Vermont Foodbank.  As a result of a generous donation from Vermont Rotary Clubs across the state, Vermonters in need will be able to access Cheddar Cheese from the Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company.  The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets continues to facilitate efforts to connect our agriculture and food producers to those in need.

“We applaud our partners in the effort to assist our most vulnerable citizens with food insecurity issues,” Secretary of Agriculture Anson Tebbetts said.  “Although there is a light at the end of the tunnel, we must continue to recognize the hardships many Vermonters are experiencing.  Our farmers and food businesses are making important efforts to address this, including food and funding.”

Vermont Rotary groups have once again provided monetary support for a donation to the Vermont Foodbank.  In 2020, Vermont Rotary groups were part of a collaboration to turn milk from Vermont dairies into yogurt and butter for distribution from the Vermont Foodbank.

“Throughout COVID-19, Rotary clubs in Vermont and New Hampshire have worked with community partners to help dairy farmers and food-insecure residents,” said Martin Cohn, a Brattleboro Rotary Club past-president who spearheaded the project. “Members and clubs from two Rotary districts – 7870 and 7850 – reached into their pockets to enable the Vermont Foodbank to buy dairy products directly from a Vermont dairy producer. We are pleased to be a part of this initiative to get nutritious cheddar cheese to Vermont families during these difficult times and help a Vermont dairy farmer challenged by disruptions as a result of COVID-19.”

Vermont rotary clubs joined forces to raise nearly $10,000 dollars to purchase the Vermont cheddar from Windsor based Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company.   The purchase supplied 1,750 pounds of cheddar cheese, or 4,000 seven-ounce servings. 

Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company CEO Kent Underwood acknowledged the importance of this effort for Vermonters in need, and the community effort it took to make it happen.  “We thank the Rotary Clubs of Vermont for their collaborative fundraising efforts, and for the opportunity to provide our cheese to Vermonters in a time of need.  Not only does this bolster the efforts of the Vermont Foodbank, but it also has a positive impact on our local employment and farm production.“

As the pandemic continues its impacts on Vermonters, causing many to face extraordinary challenges, the Vermont Foodbank has maintained a vital role in addressing food insecurity.  “Hunger in Vermont has reached unprecedented levels during the pandemic, with 1 in 3 people facing hunger since the start of the pandemic, ” says Vermont Foodbank CEO, John Sayles. “These extreme numbers make it even more impactful to have the assistance of Rotary clubs across Vermont helping to feed our community.”

Image above: Cheese delivery to Vermont Foodbank in Barre.  VF employees in photo - Dustin Songer, Brad Houghton, David Ruiz, Nick Reynolds (L-R)

*June 18, 2020 Press Release: Vermont Rotary Clubs Join Vermont Dairy Recovery and Food Assistance Effort

For questions or more information, please contact:

About Rotary 
Contact: Martin Cohn - 802-221-4821 | 

Rotary International brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Rotary District 7870 consists of 60 Rotary Clubs in southern Vermont and southern New Hampshire. Rotary District 7850 consists of 43 Rotary clubs in northern Vermont, New Hampshire, and Canada.

About the Vermont Foodbank 

Contact: Jess Cover - 802.373.4762|
The Vermont Foodbank is the state's largest hunger relief organization, providing nutritious food through a network more than 300 community partners – food shelves, meal sites, senior centers, after-school programs, schools and hospitals. Food insecurity has increased dramatically as a result of the pandemic and the Vermont Foodbank and its network have been on the front lines, working to ensure that everyone has the food they need to maintain their health. Learn more at  

About Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company

Contact: Kent Underwood - 802-457-9992 ext. 10 |

Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company (VFCC) gently cares for our land and the lives of our animals to make fresh, quality, and artisan cheese available to all. Through a marriage of authentic cheesemaking practices and innovative and playful partnerships within our community, we are creating a new generation of award winning artisanal cheeses.

Contact Information

Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

116 State Street
Montpelier, Vt 05620-2901


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