CLARK MILLS — Buell Fuels, in an effort to provide help to both local people in need and local dairy farmers hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, has donated 300 gallons of milk to the Country Pantry.
The donation is one of several such gifts of milk for the Deansboro company, a family-owned and operated heating, vehicle and propane fuel supplier located at 2676 Route 12B that’s been in operation since 2005.
The pantry, located at the Annunciation Church on Main Street in Clark Mills, said the donation — and others like it — are essential for the health and well being of many in the Clinton-Clark Mills-Westmoreland area.
The milk was presented to the Country Pantry lead organizer, Mary Zimbler, by Buell Fuels marketing representative, Javier Lopez, at the pantry’s monthly community food distribution event earlier this month.
The milk “helps our clientele beyond means,” Zimbler said, adding that this milk donation, along with an earlier one — also of 300 gallons of milk in May — provide an important bridge to many local families and individuals struggling to make ends meet.
Garth Curtis, Buell Fuels operations manager, said that with schools closed since March and with restaurants in a state of flux, dairy farmers have also suffered.
“Right at the beginning of this pandemic milk prices went down considerably,” he said. “A lot of our customers are farmers, in fact, I’d say we service approximately 90% of the large farms in Madison, Oneida and Herkimer County. And while our donation will not move the market, we wanted to find some way to support the community, especially those people who are out of work and carry an uncertainty of income and our loyal customers at the same time.”
Dairy farmers, Curtis said, work long, hard hours to produce a product that’s dropping in value by the minute. “We wanted to bring some attention to these farmers and what they’re producing,” he said.
The donated milk was purchased from Vernon Dairy in Deansboro.
In addition to The Country Pantry, Buell Fuels also made a donation of several hundred gallons of milk to the Deansboro Fire Department in support of its chicken barbecue fundraiser earlier this year.
“They are a two or three truck operation run by a father and his two sons,” Curtis said, adding that it is important for the community to pull together during difficult times.
In addition to its support from Buell Fuels, the County Pantry has partnered with other area businesses and local churches to provide food to hundreds of local families and individuals, many of whom have nowhere else to turn. Additional help and support for the pantry is always welcome, officials said during the donation event.
For ways that individuals and local organizations can help — from donations to volunteering — visit the County Pantry website at https://www.thecountrypantry.org/about.