Prison inmates help rehab potatoes
WINDSOR — A partnership between a farmer, nonprofits, and the Department of Corrections is making a difference this holiday season: They are taking unwanted surplus food and giving it to those in need.
At Windsor Prison, a converted dairy farm and low-level security prison, Vermont Offender Work Program inmates were bagging potatoes for the Vermont Food Bank facility in Brattleboro.
According to Vermont Corrections Commissioner Andrew Politto, the Vermont Food Bank, the state’s largest food distribution program, is experiencing a shortage of food this holiday season. The Department of Corrections sought to improve its Offender Work Program at Windsor Prison and also save Vermont foods going to waste.
The Department of Corrections met with a Morrisville nonprofit specializing in food distribution to find a solution. Salvation Farm takes surplus food and re-distributes throughout the state.
The organization secured potatoes from Vermont potato farmer Bob Chapelle and Ralph Perkins of Tuberville, a Milton food distribution program. Salvation Farms Executive Director Theresa Snow explained how the partnership formed.
“In order to develop this partnership with Department of Corrections and to test this kind of cleaning, grating, and pack line, we wanted to guarantee we were going to have product. Tuberville had the volume we wanted and the relationship happen,” she said.
With Chapelle’s help and Tuberville as a conduit, Salvation Farms donated an acre worth of potatoes or 30,000 lbs. to Windsor Prison’s Vermont Offender Work Program. Snow said the workers packed six tons of potatoes in under two days and will be distributed to needy families throughout southeastern Vermont.
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