Local business brings furniture and food to the table

Dec. 22—WATERTOWN — A local business is going from providing the community with furniture to providing them with food.

Massey's Furniture Barn on Arsenal Street partnered with the American Dairy Association Northeast and Jefferson County Farm Bureau to raise a total of $5,600 for the "Fill a Glass with Hope" campaign.

Three big checks — one for $4,000, one for $1,000 and one for $600 — were presented at the furniture store on Thursday morning, and all the money raised will be used to stock food pantries with a highly requested and nutritional beverage — milk.

The Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County is one of seven organizations receiving the funds, and Caroline Feasler, its family center director, said milk is not only popular, but also harder for them to source.

"It is one of the harder items to source. Through the various people who donate, it's a little bit harder to come by," Feasler said.

Food banks have also seen an uptick in use.

"Over the past year, all the food pantries in Jefferson County have seen an increase in those using the pantry and this will go a long way in helping us get milk in, for the residents of Jefferson County," she said.

Shawn Massey, owner of the furniture store, said that he was onboard when the Dairy Association reached out to him about its mission, because he knew the money would stay local.

"I do like charities where the money stays local, and this one, you can't get much more local than donating money to buy milk, to give to local foodbanks. That's as local as I can ever have," he said.

Massey was able to get his customers involved to raise even more money.

"I signed up and I said I would give a percentage of my sales to donate towards milk, and then I thought, why not invite customers, if they want to donate some money as well. So, the customers got involved and they donated some of the money. Together it was $4,000 in a three-week period of time."

Massey, who runs a small farm of his own in addition to his full-time business, understands the importance of agriculture and the community.

"I am involved with agriculture, and I love agriculture. I don't think the local people sometimes realize how important it is, and how much money it brings into this community. I supported less fortunate families, I supported local farms. It's just a win-win for everybody," he said.