Merry Christmas from Vermont to the Amazon!
This is the forest we look out on every day from our offices and showroom at Vermont Woods Studios.

A Mission of Forest Conservation

I founded Vermont Woods Studios 10 years ago on a mission of forest conservation.  I was looking for a way to raise awareness about where wood products like furniture and flooring come from.  What many people don’t realize is that when you buy these wood products from big companies like Lumber Liquidators or IKEA, there’s a good chance they’re made from trees that have been illegally clear-cut from the world’s rapidly disappearing rainforests. The idea with Vermont Woods Studios is to provide beautiful, sustainable, American made furniture as an alternative to imported furniture of suspicious origin.

The Vermont – Amazon Connection

Earlier this year, my sons Kendall & Riley and I made a trip to the Amazon rainforest to support the forest conservation efforts of Rosamaria Ruiz at the Serere Reserve in Bolivia.  While there, Riley became friends with Marco Antonio Gonzales Silva, a remarkable young conservationist working on social and environmental projects in the Bolivian Amazon.

Holiday Donation
Marco’s in the middle (red shirt) with Riley and a group of volunteers in Peru.  Help them raise $2500 to fund this year’s Holiday Giving Project which gives children in the Amazon a sandwich, a toy and a hot chocolate for Christmas.

Marco’s Holiday Giving Project

Marco grew up as a “street kid” in Peru, shining shoes for a living.  His dream is to help kids in the Peruvian Amazon, especially those living on the streets and working every day just to feed themselves.  So for the past three years, Marco has been sponsoring a project to bring holiday cheer to these children.  He uses his own money and also fundraises to buy gifts and food for the kids.  Each child receives a toy, a sandwich, and some hot chocolate for Christmas. The cost is about $5 per child.  Marco told Riley that most of these children have never had a toy before and do not yet understand the concept of a toy.

In his first year, Marco was able to donate to 500 kids by himself! With the help of some friends, he was able to up that number to 900 in his second year.  Now in his third year, Marco took to Facebook to ask for help and we’re trying to help make it his biggest year yet!

donation
Children receiving their toys and hot cocoa. In the middle you see just a portion of the children eagerly waiting.

Every Furniture Sale = a $50 Donation

We’re sending Marco a $50 donation for every furniture sale made at Vermont Woods Studios this weekend (Friday, Saturday & Sunday).  The money will be donated through a GoFundMe page set up for Marco by Riley.  The campaign runs until Dec. 14th, 2015 and Riley’s goal is to raise $2,500.  He is promising to match the largest donation (up to $200).  If you’d like to support the cause or learn more about it, please click here for details and a secure donation site.  Even a $5 donation will make a big difference in the lives of these children.  Thanks!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Team-Volunteer
From Left to Right: Brian and Nicole from the Vermont Foodbank, Martin, Nina, Megan, Gabrielle, Michelle, Loryn and Dennis of Vermont Woods Studios
Here at Vermont Woods Studios we are committed to staying active within the community around us. That is why each year we volunteer and donate as much as we can to organizations local to the Vernon, VT area.

Earlier this week, we partnered with the Vermont Foodbank (VFB) in Brattleboro, VT to help distribute 500 holiday food boxes to those in need as part of the Foodbank’s annual Pack to Give Back event. Families in and around the Brattleboro area that are struggling to put food on the table are given a chance to collect their holiday food items so they too, can enjoy and celebrate the holiday season.

Volunteers help with traffic control, gather food vouchers, mark the amount of food each family gets and help distribute the food to each person.

The day started bright and early on a blustery but sunny Monday morning. We gathered in the VFB’s office to warm up with coffee and tea and from there we were taken through their warehouse of donations and back outside to an assembly line of food. For every voucher a family had, they were given that amount of corresponding food at each point in the assembly line.

The first stop in the line was bottled water donated by FEMA, which is able to donate as long as there isn’t a need from a disaster, so that the supplies don’t go to waste. Each family that wanted it, was given an extra pack of water as a lot of the families in need don’t have regular access to clean water. The next stop in the line was butternut squash, then they were given care packages, pies, onions, apples, carrots, bread and frozen chickens.

Water-Donation
Our goal was to move more than 20,000 pounds of water!

Volunteers helped move the food from the stations into every person’s car so they wouldn’t have to get out.

This event was the third and final stop for the Pack to Give Back tour and we are delighted to have been a part of it. During 2015, the Vermont Foodbank was able to distribute 10 million pounds of food through food rescue, direct donations and gleaning. Volunteers are a crucial part of the Foodbank, assisting with distribution, food collection and food packing.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can help out year round at your local foodbank, visit Feeding America today!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Heifer-holiday-giftsThat's you!  Let's be honest. If you're reading this, you can probably count yourself among the "ones who have everything" right?  And your friends and family are in that group too.  OK, I'm not trying to be a big grinch and stomp down on all our Cyber Weekend shopping fun.  I'm just suggesting that some of the frenzy whipped up over these unbelievable deals is a bit contrived– maybe you and those on your List don't really need or want an extra flat screen TV anyway. 

So what to buy that would have some meaning?

Here's a short list of my Top 4 Favorite Christmas and Holiday Gifts:

  • A $20 donation to Heifer International could offer an education (and a new world) to a child otherwise doomed to a life of poverty in a third world country.  If you can read this story about Beatrice Biira and not be inspired to swap a goat or flock of chickens for the Blu-ray player, I'll be surprised.
  •  For the animal lovers on your list, what could be more thoughtful than the World Wildlife Fund symbolic adoption of an endangered species?  Tigers are my favorite animals and they are among the most critically endangered species on earth, but WWF offers over 100 adoption choices from Red Eyed Tree Frog to the Ring Tailed Lemur.  Adoption gifts include a stuffed animal, a personalized, framed adoption certificate and a photo of the animal in the wild.  These are fun for kids and adults alike.

The best part is that there's no Black Friday or Cyber Monday RUSH on buying these items.  But… you could take a big load off your shoulders and get everything done today.  Then you could relax and enjoy the rest of the Christmas season in peace– what a concept!

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.