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GIVE ‘TIL IT HURTS: Yogurt Maker Chobani To Give Five-Pound Bags Of Its Popular Product To The Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico

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SOUTH EDMESTON, N.Y. — Give ’til it hurts … ’til in yog-hurts if you will.

Chobani is diverting 1.3 million pounds of milk to a drying plant, where it will be turned into powder and shipped in five-pound bags to victims of Hurricane Maria in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

“This is our way of trying to do our part for those impacted by natural disaster – building on the work our teams have been doing on the ground in Texas, Florida and California in recent months,” Chobani founder, Chairman and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya told dairy farmers across New York in a letter today. “It’s also intended to prevent any milk from going into the ground while we’re offline and so I wanted to share this news with you first.”

Hurricane Maria hit St. Croix and Puerto Rico in September, knocking out power to millions and devastating the agricultural industry, including many dairy farm, on the islands.

Chobani closed its big yogurt plant near New Berlin, New York on Monday for 12 days of scheduled maintenance, but the company has found another use for some of the milk the plant won’t be using during the shutdown to send to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

St. Thomas and St. John were walloped by Hurricane Irma on Sept. 6.

In August and September, Chobani shipped more than 350,000 cups of its Greek yogurt to food banks and shelters in areas of Texas and Florida hit by hurricanes and areas of California hit by massive wildfires.

Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant, started Chobani in 2005 at a former Kraft plant on County Road 25 in South Edmeston, an Otsego County hamlet 60 miles southeast of Syracuse.



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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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