By Sabine Rhyne
Anna Gouznova is an AmeriCorps Services Coordinator serving with Morningside Shelter in Brattleboro. A lover of food and good company, Anna was excited to be a part of Morningside’s Community Dinner, which takes place every Thursday at 6:00pm. While the company proved great, Anna noticed that the meal was often comprised of foods that could potentially be laden with chemical pesticides, hormones, and otherwise heavily processed. On several occasions, Anna brought a small dish of her own, citing dietary restrictions.
“It’s startling to witness economic and social injustice manifesting itself in the form of a meal on a plate,” shared Anna. In response, she set a goal to provide local, organic or low-spray vegetables, grains, meats, and cheese for Community Dinner. The Shelter budgets $40 for this meal, and approximately 20 people attend. Anna decided to take the $40 to the Co-op, and planned several meals to give her goal a test run. With her Food for All discount, she found that she could purchase all the ingredients for a wholesome delicious meal that was mostly organic for approximately $2 a person. She was really inspired by the outcome, and we are too!
This is exactly what we are working to achieve with the Co-op’s Food for All program (which offers a 10% discount to anyone connected with EBT, WIC, or SSI programs), and the Pennywise Pantry tours, as well as our collaboration with the Drop-In Center. Healthy and nutritious foods are now within reach for families who have historically struggled to put food on the table and the Co-op is continuing to reach out with this idea. It is well documented that healthy eating can improve children’s ability to learn, as well as support adults in the stress of daily life.
Morningside is a 29-bed residential shelter for individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness. The average length of stay ranges from 70 to 90 days while residents work on goals to achieve sustainable housing. Morningside is the only year-round shelter in our region, operating at capacity regardless of the season. Intensive case management is provided daily to assist residents in achieving their housing goals. In addition to rooms for families as well as individual men and women, the shelter includes a common living room and children’s play area, a large kitchen and dining area, laundry facilities, and a food shelf for resident use.
Morningside is currently seeking volunteers to both plan and cook for Morningside’s Community Dinner, and the Co-op will support these efforts with 2 shareholder work hours each for the planner and the chef. Give Anna a call at 802-257-0066 x110 or e-mail
to offer your services. Please follow up with Shareholder Services afterward to have your hours credited to your account. Thank you!