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Chenango Memorial Hospital awarded $255,450 by Chobani Yogurt

By GARY LIBERATORE

NORWICH, N.Y. (WKTV) - Hamdi Ulukaya founded Chobani Yogurt in 2005.

The first Chobani Yogurt moved off the shelves of the New Berlin plant in 2007, and since then, Ulukaya has been setting aside ten percent of the company's profits to help others.

The charitable arm of Chobani is named 'The Shepherd Gift Foundation,' a big reason why is because Chobani is a Turkish word meaning 'Shepherd'.

Ulukaya says he and his employees are always looking to help others.

"We are looking for the shepherds," he said. "The people who are making a difference, and bring their spirit to our company."

At a press conference Friday afternoon, Ulukaya presented one of those so-called shepherds, Chenango Memorial Hospital, and its President and C.E.O. Dr. Drake Lamen, with a check for $255,450.

Dr. Lamen says every penny will be used to purchase a new digital X-Ray machine that will be housed in the hospital's soon to be built orthopedic wing.

"This has got to be the single biggest contribution that we have received from one party," Dr. Lamen said. "It is very, very much appreciated."

Chenango Memorial Hospital was one of hundreds of companies from across the country that applied to The Shepherd Gift Foundation for one of its so-called 'gifts.'

In past years, Ulukaya and Chobani has given money to help in a number of other situations, including famine relief in Somalia and flood relief here in New York State just last year.

On Monday, Ulukaya will be in New York City to present a check to 'Sing for Hope' so the not-for-profit can buy a new piano. Sing for Hope has a Healing Arts Program that brings live performance to patients, families, visitors, and staff in healthcare facilities.

Ulukaya says a big foundation of every community is its healthcare system and its schools, and he wants to do what he can to help both as much as he can.

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