130,000 cans and bottles redeemed for farm relief

Bottle drive raises over $8,000 for farm relief – 130,000 of bottles and cans collected for the cause

VPIRG celebrated the end of a two-month-long bottle drive to raise funds for farms damaged by Tropical Storm Irene.  In total, the statewide Redeem to Rebuild drive raised over $8,000 through the collection of redeemed containers as well as through non-profit, business, and individual donations.

“Over 130,000 bottles and cans were redeemed to raise these funds,” said Leah Marsters, an organizer at VPIRG.  “It’s so heartening to see Vermonters pulling together to help one another in any small way they can, even if it’s one nickel at a time, it makes a significant impact.”

Click here to watch video from the event courtesy of FOX44 news

Over fifty redemption centers across the state participated in the drive along with high schools, college groups, and interested community members from towns all over Vermont.  Groups like the student council at Lamoille Union High School set up collection bins throughout the school, made daily announcements, and encouraged students to participate in the drive by distributing raffle tickets for every ten cans donated.  Similarly, Depot Beverage, a redemption center located in Waterbury, fundraised close to $1,000 by advertising the drive to their regular customers.

“So much of our community was devastated by Tropical Storm Irene,” said Mike Marshall of Depot Beverage.  “Participating in Redeem to Rebuild just made sense.  The drive has provided a simple way for us to help others get back on their feet after the flood.”

Geo Honigford, owner of Hurricane Flats Organic Farm in South Royalton that was flooded during Irene, said, “I’ve been very impressed by the generosity of people, and with the grant from the Vermont Farm Disaster Relief Fund, we will bounce back from being “Hurricane Flat-tened” to Hurricane Flats next spring.”

In addition to the redemption of bottles and cans, Redeem to Rebuild also benefited from non-profit, business, and individual contributions.  Beyond organizing the drive, VPIRG donated an additional $500 to the cause.  TOMRA, a company involved in the collection and recycling of redeemable beverage containers in Vermont, made a $1,000 donation.

VPIRG delivered the proceeds from Redeem to Rebuild to the Vermont Farm Disaster Relief Fund, a fund established by the Vermont Community Foundation in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture to provide support to farms that have suffered losses due to Tropical Storm Irene.

“The outpouring of support that we’ve received from Vermonters across the state has been amazing,” said Stuart Comstock-Gay, president and CEO of the Vermont Community Foundation.  “There is such a spirit of community and generosity in Vermont, and the Redeem to Rebuild drive exemplifies that.”