Ten years ago this month, just two days after an earthquake devastated the Caribbean island of Haiti, Co-op member Sheila Humphreys and then-deli clerk Mariam Diallo began a conversation that led to a decade-long connection between our community and Foyer Evangelique Orphanage (OFEU) in Haiti.
Over the course of the past few years, the town of Brattleboro has seen an unfortunate rise in addiction and poverty, affecting many of our lives. We at the Co-op have experienced this first-hand, as addiction has deeply affected our staff, family, and friends. The experience of walking in downtown Brattleboro is not unlike that in many other towns and cities. From Greenfield to Burlington to Bennington we are seeing and feeling the same effects of an economic, political, and health care system that is broken, which makes folks turn to the street. In recent months, we as a Co-op have tried to show leadership when we can as a response to what is presenting itself here in our town. People who are struggling and in need of support are often overcome by demons in their search for ways to cope. We at the Co-op feel a need to try and be a part of positive change that can be a way to shift what is happening here and all across the country. As our Ends Policies state, we are and believe we must be a “welcoming community marketplace,” one that is built on the Cooperative Principle “Concern for Community.” We are proud of our actions thus far, and think that it is important to be publicly involved in all of the initiatives that are underway in our community. We were not among the merchants who authored the anonymous open letter that The Commons printed on May 29th.* Although we understand and appreciate the work that this group, like many others, is pursuing to come up with solutions, we think that public dialogue with clear authorship is important to better further a community-wide initiative. As we reflect upon our role as an anchor downtown merchant with thousands of employees and customers impacted by the current reality, we feel it is important to reiterate the projects we are involved with, and inform about internal actions we are taking.
During June, July and August, for every New Chapter product purchased at the Co-op, New Chapter will donate $2 on your behalf to Groundworks Collaborative. We want to reach a $2,000 total donation, so nourish yourself and support a wonderful community organization.
As the Seasonal Overflow Shelter closes, Groundworks invites the community to Camp for a Common Cause
Project Feed the Thousands
Christmas Tree Sale and Food Drive for Groundworks Collaborative
The Brattleboro Food Co-op Staff and Board of Directors are pleased to announce the 2nd annual Ice Cream Social, to be held on Saturday, July 28th on the Whetstone Pathway, across from the Co-op, from 12 – 3 p.m. This community-building event was a great success last year, generating awareness and support of local kid-centered organizations.
On Saturday, July 7th, our Brattleboro Food Co-op will join co-ops around the world in celebrating International Co-ops Day, joining the United Nations (UN) and the International Co-operative Alliance in a commemoration held annually since 1923. This year, at a time of dramatic change in the political and environmental climates and local economies, co-ops and credit unions are highlighting how their businesses offer a solution by contributing to more sustainable local communities.
by Ruth, Shareholder Services
Many Friday mornings, for over 2 years, Bronna Zlochiver, BFC shareholder, and artist, has been bringing her kindness, sweetness, creativity and joy to the kids at KidsPlayce, an indoor play space for kids located on Elliot Street in Brattleboro. She researches, chooses, and dreams about what books the pre-school age kids would enjoy—she has even purchased titles herself to share with her little fans. In her Pippi Longstocking ponytails, or wearing a silly hat, Bronna walked to the Co-op the first and third Fridays of the month for years, to choose a healthy snack to share with her listeners from 10:30-11:30am as part of an Education and Outreach program called Story & Snack Time.
The former Austine School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will house Groundworks Collaborative’s winter overflow shelter. The dormitory-style building can accommodate 33 beds, has adequate living and dining spaces, and ample bathroom facilities. This is an improvement from the First Baptist Church on Main Street which could only handle 20 beds and was over capacity on 43 percent of the 167 nights the shelter was open last winter season.
BRATTLEBORO, VT – Groundworks Collaborative will hold the seventh annual Hike for the Homeless fundraiser on Saturday, October 14, on Mount Wantastiquet in Hinsdale, NH. There will be two start times, 10am and 12:30pm, each beginning at the Mountain Road trailhead in Hinsdale (an immediate left after the second bridge on Route 119 when coming from downtown Brattleboro). Registration begins at 9:30 for the 10am start, and at noon for the 12:30pm start. Whether hiking to the summit or walking the River Trail at the mountain’s base, participants can anticipate spectacular fall-foliage views of the town of Brattleboro. Hikers may raise funds individually (a minimum of $50 is suggested) or as a team (suggested minimum $250). All proceeds from the Hike benefit Groundworks’ programs to house and support families and individuals experiencing homelessness in Brattleboro and surrounding communities.