Who could use some good news right about now? Here is a story that will raise your spirits.

Like many Vermont producers, Carrie and Kempton Randolph, who own Hooker Mountain Farm and Distillery in Marshfield, were hit hard by the state’s shutdown and subsequent economic downturn. But that didn’t stop them from sharing Thanksgiving food with their neighbors.

“Unfortunately, this year, along with so many others, our business was significantly impacted financially because of all the closures due to COVID-19,” says Carrie. “By early Spring things were looking pretty bleak for us, since our primary source of income is running a farm distillery and tasting room, and all those businesses were shut down.”

So the couple turned back to their farming roots, raising pastured meats like chickens, pigs and cows just as they did before the distillery became their main business. Meat sales quickly took off and sold out, so they added more pork and chicken, which again sold out.

“It made our hearts so happy that we were able to both fill an immediate food need in the community as well as try to be imaginative in ways to diversify income in the times of COVID-19,” says Carrie.

As the fall season came around, the couple wanted to find ways to give back to their community. In a normal year, their family, which includes four young children, would look for ways to give during the holidays, like sponsoring a child for Christmas or donating to Toys for Tots. The couple wants their kids to learn the spirit of giving and sharing; but, they weren’t in a position to give in the same way this year — although they did have food to share.

The couple turned to Front Porch Forum to offer up boxes of food to four families in need in their community. The boxes would include the main staples of a nutritious Thanksgiving meal: pasture-raised chicken, ground beef, potatoes, green beans and stuffing. The boxes of food went quickly to the first four families to reply, and Carrie and Kempton received an outpouring of thanks from neighbors.

“While we were still feeling the pinch of finances, we were rich in high-quality food this season,” says Carrie. “So, offering some high-quality calories to our neighbors who might need an extra hand this season was just our way of paying it forward, and saying a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who helped us through this season.”

It’s a hopeful tale that shows what humans are capable of, even when facing adversity — even in the turmoil of this difficult year — and just one of many similar stories being told in communities around the state. As the late Mr. Rogers’ mother would say, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

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