SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Vermont Packinghouse donated $6,300 to support local Springfield School and Youth Programs as part of its year-end giving. Employees recently celebrated the holiday season and were given the opportunity to allocate $100 each to a Springfield project of their choice.
“We are pleased to continue our tradition of giving back to Springfield,” said Arion Thiboumery, managing partner at Vermont Packinghouse. “Many of our staff grew up here and are raising children of their own. We are proud to be in a position to continue to support programs in the community that benefit children and families.”
One of the top recipients is the Springfield Booster Club. VPH staff awarded $1,400 towards the purchase of a new scoreboard for the Dressel Gymnasium at Riverside Middle School. Currently, Springfield High School, Riverside Middle School, and the Springfield Parks and Recreation teams play basketball and other sports in the Riverside Gym. Many VPH staff grew up playing sports in the gym and want to continue to support thriving youth sports in the area.
The current scoreboard was installed sometime in the mid-1980s, so old that finding replacement lights is becoming impossible. According to Rachel Hunter, Springfield Booster Club president, school maintenance men have been using a very old set of Christmas lights that happen to fit the boards to keep them going. The equipment is now obsolete. They are not sure what to do once the string of lights is gone.
Replacing the scoreboards is part of the booster club’s overall effort to update the Dressel Gymnasium. Recent upgrades include new mats and a new sound system. “Youth sports are considered co-curricular to academics these days. Teaching kids how to be part of a team builds life skills,” says Hunter. “Playing team sports provides kids with the opportunity to problem solve and have face-to-face interaction in the digital age. It builds important life skills. Having a up-to-date facility to practice and play instills a sense of pride in our youth and community.”
Riverside Middle School’s outdoor classroom project will receive $1,900. According to Riverside’s STEAM instructor Rebecca Osborne, Riverside students are working in groups to develop and submit detailed design proposals including budgets and blueprints for an outdoor classroom. Designs include expansion of raised bed vegetable gardens, raising chickens and other animals, and increasing physical fitness opportunities. A panel made up of school administrators and staff will choose the winning design that will be used to implement the outdoor classroom learning space.
Other projects to receive funding include $900 to support Union Street Elementary School’s College and Career Exposure Program; $800 to support technology needs for Elm Hill Primary School’s Library, Art and Music programs; $700 to the All-4-One After school program to sponsor community events; and $600 to the Springfield High School Innovation Labs program to purchase updated video equipment.
Located in North Springfield, Vermont Packinghouse regularly hosts educational tours for schools, colleges, and the community. It began operations in July of 2014, starting out with 10 full time employees. Working with over 300 farms in the region, today they employ close to 70 people and processed over 5 million pounds of locally and sustainably raised beef and pork this year.