Kevin O’Connor wrote this informative story for VTDigger (2/7/2021) on the use of Coronavirus Relief Funds to help house Vermonters experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. Groundworks and the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust have led the way in southern Vermont, collaborating in 2018 to open Great River Terrace (North Brattleboro) and now with the January 2021 opening of The Chalet (West Brattleboro). These permanent supportive housing communities are built on a model that is proven to end homelessness.
Groundworks and our Foodworks food shelf are grateful to all of the potters who made beautiful hand-crafted “Empty Bowls” for this year’s virtual Empty Bowls dinner. A number of businesses made this virtual twist possible by selling bowls in their storefronts—including: Zephyr Designs, Everyone’s Books, The Brattleboro Food Co-Op, The Putney General Store, Putney Food Co-Op, The Kitchen Sync, and The Shoe Tree! Working together, this community raised over $27,000 to keep the shelves stocked at Foodworks (very nearly what we’ve raised with the annual dinner!)! Many warm thanks to all who made sure COVID could not spoil this community effort to ensure the food security of our neighbors in need.
A permanent home for Brattleboro’s Seasonal Overflow Shelter and adequate space for our community’s Day Shelter are nearing completion. The renovation of 60 South Main Street—the existing Drop-In Center building—will be the third and final phase of this project.
Foodworks—our food shelf program at 141 Canal Street in Brattleboro—has shifted operations back to pre-COVID hours of operation. The program is open to anyone with any level of need in the greater Brattleboro area. People wishing to pick up a free two-week supply of groceries can drive or walk up to Foodworks’ location and choose from items on a grocery list; at which point a volunteer will pack the order and bring it out to the vehicle.
COVID-19 has encouraged collaboration between organizations to an extent not seen before. This year, St. Brigid’s Kitchen and Foodworks collaborated to create November and December Holiday food boxes—joining forces to distribute over 400 boxes of holiday food to anyone in need. For many years, St. Brigid’s Kitchen & Pantry and Foodworks of Groundworks Collaborative, have each distributed holiday food boxes in both November and December.
UPDATE February 3, 2021: Thank you for all of the coats. The coat drive has been a great success and we have more than enough donations at this point for this season. Many thanks to Nancy Shepherd, who organized a COAT DRIVE for Groundworks Collaborative!
The Brattleboro Reformer published a December 20, 2020 article about the new Groundworks facility nearing completion, including an interview with Josh Davis. We anticipate opening as early as April. The new building will be a permanent home for our community’s Seasonal Overflow Shelter (SOS) as well as all of the Drop-In Center’s daytime services and will consolidate Groundworks’ administrative offices.
“Coffee & Conversation” – Stories of Homelessness is a photography and mixed digital media exhibit that brings together two cross-sections of our community; those who are experiencing/have experienced homelessness and those who have stable housing. An update to Coffee & Conversation, including new photos and recorded conversations is now up at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center — we look forward to the re-Opening of this exhibit once the BMAC determines it is safe to do so.
It is amazing to see the amount of work being done and care being provided by our staff, clients, and volunteers. We have organized a Community Homeless Response Team, with Groundworks’ Director of Operations Rhianna Kendrick leading the charge.
Many thanks to all who participated in the GIVE 60 CHALLENGE! It’s not too late to support the GIVE 60 CHALLENGE—a choose-your-own-challenge fundraiser that expanded upon our 2020 Hike for the Homeless.