Vermont Coffee Company raises $142,000 for homeless shelters and food shelves

By HAEUN PARK

COURTESY PHOTO
Amidst their usual production efforts, Vermont Coffee Company teamed up with local organizations, including H.O.P.E, to lead a Covid-19 fundraising campaign last month. The organizations raised $142,000 for local homeless shelters and food shelves.

Middlebury-based Vermont Coffee Company successfully completed its campaign to match funds raised by local nonprofits, resulting in $142,000 given to local homeless shelters and food shelves impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.  

Lily Hinrichsen, brand manager of Vermont Coffee Company, said the widespread impact of the Covid-19 pandemic prompted the creation of the campaign. “We responded quickly to support our neighbors in need of food and shelter when Covid-19 started radically changing our lives,” she wrote in an email to The Campus. 

 The business partnered with organizations such as John Graham Shelter, the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) and Addison County’s H.O.P.E. (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects). Vermont Coffee Company matched dollar-for-dollar every donation made towards these organizations with the goal of raising $100,000, a benchmark that was surpassed by almost 50% at the completion of the campaign in early April.  

Jeanne Montross, Executive Director of H.O.P.E., commented on the positive process of working with Vermont Coffee Company in this campaign. “Vermont Coffee Company is a very socially conscious and caring company,” Montross said. “When they offered to do the challenge grant, they did it quickly and efficiently. We met the match quickly as well.”

Jubilee McGill, the John Graham Shelter’s primary coordinator for Covid-19 response, also expressed her gratitude in an interview with The Campus last week. “They’re just a company that’s doing a lot of amazing things in our area pretty much always, but it’s really ramped up in this time,” said McGill. “It’s been amazing to see.” 

Due to the pandemic, food shelves across America are feeling the stress of increased demand and are struggling to replenish their supplies. Donation challenges, such as the one undertaken by Vermont Coffee Company, are a way to ensure that food shelves have the funds to support their communities.

“[The campaign] was really helpful to us because now we need to purchase so much more food for people,” Montross said.  

Although the Vermont Coffee Company has stepped up to bolster the efforts of local nonprofits during this national crisis, they have a long history of philanthropy. The company has long since been known to donate products, funds and time to those in need. “They’re a company that kind of quietly helps out a lot behind the scenes for social and community service providers in the area,” said McGill.

Living in the context of these times, Montross emphasized the importance of empathy.

“Community means people coming together and caring about each other,” Montross said. “It’s about reaching out and thinking of other people. It’s people accepting help when they need it and giving it back when they can do it. Addison County is an amazingly warm, caring, and generous community.” 

Hinrichsen also cited community as the main reason behind the success of their donation challenge. “We couldn’t have done it without the generosity of our Vermont communities.”