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Cheese company gives to autism community

Taking the profits for the year of 2009, the Santabarbara Cheese Company presented over $4,700 to the Albany Chapter of the Autism Society on Feb.3.

During the 11 a.m. ceremony at 101 State St. in Schenectady, County Legislature, and founder of the Santabarbara Cheese Company, Democrat Angelo Santabarbara presented a check to the Albany Chapter of the Autism Society to help fund their programs and continued community outreach to 12 upstate counties.

\I couldn't think of a better group to donate to because they change lives, said Santabarbara. Starting the company in 2008 with the help of family recipes, Santabarbara donates the profits of the cheese company to local charities. For the second year in a row, Santabarbara has donated the profits of his company to the Albany Chapter of the Autism Society, last year's donation to the charity culminated in $1,400.

"We're extremely grateful," said Executive Director of the Autsim Society, Albany Chapter, Janine Kruiswijk. "The whole Santabarbara family has been very supportive of our foundation." Kruiswijk said that the society depends upon private donations to power their programs, including camp scholarships, family and adult support groups, and education and training information. The Albany chapter of the Autism Society covers 12 counties, from Warren to the Southern Tier, to help families and individuals affected by autism. For some, that includes Santabarbara, whose own son was diagnosed with autism at age 3.

A first generation Italian-American and a lifelong Schenectady County resident, Santabarbara said in an earlier statement that the food he creates with his family's recipes is about helping community organizations to make a difference. "We weren't sure what to expect, but we were very happy to see so much support from the local community and beyond for a good cause," he said in a press release. "My family's cheese recipe is all about keeping a tradition alive, the cheese company is about helping organizations like the ASA make a difference."

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