Trading coffee for canoes to help the community - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Trading coffee for canoes to help the community

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MIDDLESEX, Vt. -

Thorsten Evans fueled up on Green Mountain Coffee before his shift started Tuesday.

"Barista Prima Italian Roast-- that's my cup of choice," Evan said.

He needed the extra caffeine on this day. Evans traded in his IT job at the coffee company to instead haul trash out of the Winooski River-- his office for the day.

"It's a little different playing around in the mud versus sitting at a desk and pushing keys on a keyboard," Evans said. "This is more fun!"

Evans and his Green Mountain Coffee Roasters colleagues can use up to 52 work hours a year to volunteer for nonprofits in the community.

"Volunteering has been a part of the DNA of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters since the beginning," said Liz Dohrman of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

This is the ninth annual Winooski River Clean Up. About 200 GMCR workers take part.

"Oh, we're finding all sorts of stuff," Dohrman said.

Last year, GMCR employees pulled about 1,000 tires out of the river. Hundreds have been gathered so far this year and the cleanup continues through Friday.

"This is also a section of river we have never cleaned up before. This is the first time we are coming through," Dohrman said.

Volunteers suspect a lot of the debris is still leftover litter from Tropical Storm Irene.

"I am totally surprised by the amount," Evans said.

All of the tires collected by Green Mountain Coffee employees will be picked up by tire giant Bridgestone to be reused or recycled.

A messy coffee break that no one seems to mind.

"The mud is the best part!" Dohrman said.

Because the next clean up comes after the river clean up.

"A couple pieces in particular were stuck in some nasty smelly stuff. But we can go home and shower afterward, so it is not a big deal to get a little muddy and dirty for a day," Evans said.

Green Mountain Coffee employees get to pick which nonprofit they want to support.

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