Our Annual United Way Warehouse Sale: 2020 Edition

October 30, 2020 at 03:57pm

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

There’s one area in which 2020 has exceeded expectations — the kindness paid to strangers. We’re leaning into that.

Over the last 15 years, Rhino has raised over $132,000 for the United Way of Northwest Vermont thanks to the generous support of our customers and partner organizations that have donated goods year after year. As the pandemic lingers and we head into the holidays with uncertainty, there is no better time to pause and consider our neighbors, and what we can do for one another.

Which brings us to this year’s festivities and a brief history on how we got here. We’re hoping that with your help, we can go bigger in 2020 than years past. Even if it looks a little different.


Chesster Custard Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

Way back in the 1900s, the original “Rhino Cares” committee was created to host fundraisers for selected local nonprofits throughout the year. The November Warehouse Sale was reserved to fund-raise specifically for the United Way. In the late ‘90s, this sale included some of our favorite Rhino made treats — Vermont Velvet Cheesecakes, the beloved Chesster, and very popular trays of rich brownies with a cream cheese swirl. Yum.

These baked goods were a little different than our typical confections. We called them “Baker Seconds” — cakes and cookies with some idiosyncrasies but with the same quality and taste that was just as good as the picture perfect ones we sold to our customers.

Talk about a win/win/win. Local friends and neighbors got delicious treats at low prices, we reduced unnecessary waste, and all proceeds helped our local community through the United Way.

In 2012, we decided to step it up. We reached out to local Vermont brands, many of them fellow B Corp companies, to see if they’d be interested in donating products for the sale. Done deal. Over the next few years we were joined by other regional B Corps resulting in this amazing line-up:

Rooney Castle, Rhino’s Co-Pack Manager, noted “This change has had a three-fold impact: it gave shoppers a better experience with increased product variety, it allowed us to raise substantially more money for the United Way, and it provided an opportunity to showcase the amazing businesses who are committed to using business as a force for good.”

Badger Balm Donated Products
Badger Balm Donated Products

It was also a chance to connect and collaborate with our B Corp community. Carey Underwood, Director of Mission Partnerships and Programs for our friends at King Arthur Baking Company, remarked “It’s such a great opportunity to come together with fellow B Corps to support our Vermont community. United Way addresses the crucial issues that impact our neighbors: health, education, financial stability.”

Most importantly, you showed up.

Rhino Volunteers at the 2019 Sale
Rhino Volunteers at the 2019 Sale

So what’s going on with the Warehouse Sale this year?

For the first time in 25 years, the United Way Warehouse Sale will not be taking place, but that does not mean we are cancelling the impact that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens such as yourself can generate. This year, we are asking that you donate directly to United Way of Northwest Vermont by November 20th and Rhino will match the first $5000 raised.

Ted Castle, our owner and founder, states “The pandemic has created more need for organizations like the United Way than ever before. Even though we won’t be able to hold our warehouse sale this year, we want to do our part to support the most vulnerable people through this difficult time. We hope you will join us in our campaign for the United Way of Northern Vermont!”

If you’ve been a part of the Warehouse Sale in the past, thank you and help us make a bigger impact in 2020 than ever before. If we’ve not yet had the pleasure to meet in the warehouse, then consider this a warm welcome to the Rhino family and an invitation to contribute what you can.

Here’s to another 25 years of kindness and commitment to change for good.

November 24, 2020:  Thank you to everyone who contributed to raising $3,676.  With Rhino Foods match, the United Way of NW Vermont will receive $7,353.