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Board of Directors: Good Neighbors PDF Print E-mail

by Jane Dewey
December 2012

It may not always be evident that hunger is a reality in our town, but hundreds of folks are homeless and in need of support for both food and shelter.  Aside from our own individual compassionate actions, cooperatives around the world subscribe to the 7th Cooperative Principle, Concern for Community. Our Co-op takes this very seriously, and considers the community in both its response to requests for support as well as in strategic decisions of all kinds, including investing in a long-term community resource like our new building.

The Winter Overflow Homeless Shelter, housed in the First Baptist Church, will open its doors the Sunday after Thanksgiving and stay open until April. The shelter program is a collaborative project of the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center, the Brattleboro Area Interfaith Clergy Association, and the First Baptist Church. The Drop In Center is responsible for the overall project and its staff oversees the overnight operations, including scheduling all overnight volunteers who staff the shelter between 7pm and 7am every night. The Interfaith Clergy Association is responsible for all the evening meals served at the Overflow Shelter, except every Wednesday night when Bridget’s Kitchen offers the meal as part of their year-round soup kitchen. First Baptist Church is responsible for housing the Overflow Shelter and generously opens its doors to our homeless neighbors. Together, these organizations and community volunteers make sure that all individuals have a safe and warm place to spend the night through the winter and can enjoy a warm and nutritious evening meal.
This will be the 6th year for the shelter to open its doors and the 5th year providing meals to the shelter’s clients. Last year there were 5,160 meals served by more than 30 meal teams. Unfortunately, there continues to be a great need for this community service.
The Co-op and I would like to provide at least one meal per month and will be looking for working shareholders to help cook, deliver, and serve at the shelter.  Preparation will happen at a pre-scheduled time in our Cooking Classroom. The sign-up sheets will be available at Shareholder Services. This is an important community program and just one example of the many ways the Brattleboro Food Co-op tries to fulfill the commitment our shareholders have made to helping out folks who have basic needs.
In addition to the hundreds of gift-card donations BFC has distributed community wide, we have provided funding and food donations to fundraisers and events in the nonprofit sectors of Brattleboro, Windham County, and beyond.  This year we were a sponsor of Strolling of the Heifers, supported Empty Bowls (including providing soup), and have donated to the BEEC Forest of Mystery, among others.
Cooperatives have many bottom lines. They choose to express their concern for community through social responsibility. This cooperative principle is built into the way we do business.  As a board member, I am proud of our community programs and hope that our shareholders continue to stay involved.

So I would like to invite you to be part of a shareholder meal team with food preparation in our new community kitchen. Keep an eye out for more information at the Shareholder Services desk.