In May of 2012, Cabot Creamery Cooperative, the farm family owned dairy cooperative widely known as the makers of the “World’s Best Cheddar,” banded together with fellow cooperatives, farmers, credit unions, corporations, and volunteer groups to create The Cabot Community Tour. The two-month-long celebration included dozens of events in cities and towns along the East Coast, from Miami to Portland, ME, each celebrating the virtues of unified communities, volunteerism, and the International Year of Cooperatives. The Community Tour was such a success that on May 17, it will recommence, and the celebration of communities, good deeds, and volunteerism will begin anew with a Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville, Inc. (HabiJax) kickoff event in Jacksonville, FL.
“Our first Community Tour was a resounding success, and we are extremely excited to launch a brand new tour in 2014,” says Cabot’s Senior VP of Marketing Roberta MacDonald. “In 2012, we collaborated with 182 partner organizations along the tour route, attracted more than 50,000 attendees to our 23 events, travelled 2,300 miles in 57 days, and reached millions by traditional and social media outreach. We believe that strong, healthy, and unified communities make for a better world, and the tour is a perfect way to spread our positive message to a wide audience. This year, we hope to reach even more people as we visit cities including Savannah, Charleston, Raleigh, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York.”
The 2014 Community Tour begins in Jacksonville on May 17 at noon with a kickoff event in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville, Inc. HabiJax will be recognizing the homebuyers, sponsors, and builders participating in the 2014 Homebuilder Blitz held June 9-14. 25 new homes will be built, and 25 owner-occupied homes will receive critical home repairs during the week with the help of 1,100 volunteers. All homes are in the New Town neighborhood of Jacksonville.
"We are very grateful to Cabot for kicking off their 2014 Community Tour in Jacksonville, and at the same time highlighting the work HabiJax is doing in the New Town area," said HabiJax President and CEO Mary Kay O'Rourke.
The Cabot Farmers' Gratitude Grille, a state-of-the art mobile kitchen, will also be on hand to prepare complimentary meals to help fuel the hardworking volunteers. The Gratitude Grille will travel the entire distance of the 2014 Community Tour providing fresh, healthy meals to volunteer groups at pre-planned events each day.
After the Jacksonville event, the 2014 Community Tour heads north along the East Coast Greenway - a 2,900-mile traffic-free path linking East Coast cities from Florida to Maine - stopping in 31 cities and towns along the way. The 1,000-mile trek includes teams of cyclists, a caravan of volunteers, and the Cabot Farmers’ Gratitude Grille. The tour concludes on June 21 in New York City with a grand finale celebration at Adventures New York in Central Park.
In another strong showing of their support for local communities, Myron and Cathy Skott will return on their now-famous recumbent bicycles as Cabot-sponsored riders to complete another full-distance ride. A complete tour schedule can be found at cabotcommunitytour.com.
“Interested volunteers who can’t join us on the tour can still get involved by visiting rewardvolunteers.coop, and downloading the free Reward Volunteers iPhone app or using the online web widget,” says MacDonald.
Sponsors of The 2014 Community Tour include: AARP Create the Good, East Coast Greenway, HandsOn Network, Marriott, and National Life Group.