Happy Holidays to all of our guests, donors and volunteers from the board and staff at Our Place Drop-In Center in Bellows Falls Vermont

Dear Friends of Our Place,

As we gather with friends and family to celebrate this holiday season, we have many things to be thankful for. The board and staff of Our Place are thankful for the hundreds of donors who provide food and money to keep our food shelf full and our kitchen stocked so that we can feed our neighbors in need. We were able to distribute more than 75 turkeys for people to enjoy in their homes on Thanksgiving, as well as host a wonderful turkey dinner for more than 70 guests in our dining room before the holiday.

During these unsettling economic times, many more people in our community are turning to Our Place for help in obtaining enough nutritious food to keep themselves and their families healthy.  As an example, by October 12th of this year, Our Place had already served the same number of meals that were served during all of 2009. We are now serving between 750 and 850 meals a month, and the number keeps growing. So far in 2010, Our Place has provided free groceries, including hundreds of pounds of fresh produce, to 1,991 adults and 1,416 children. This winter, we are again extending our hours to be open Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm to meet the needs of the guests staying at the Greater Falls Warming Shelter.

Our Place has received a $5,000 Challenge Grant from the Thomas Thompson Trust, which will help us upgrade our kitchen refrigeration and cooking equipment. Every dollar you donate to Our Place during our holiday appeal will help us meet the challenge.

Please contribute what you can — and know that Our Place will be here for all our neighbors and families in need of food and companionship as long as we have the support of people like you. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to volunteer.

We wish you all a wonderful holiday season.

WISHLIST – September 2010

Our foodshelves definitely need some replenishing!    If you have the means and inclination, please consider donating the following:

WISH LIST – Sept 2010

* GARLIC & ONIONS FOR KITCHEN!!!

* CANNED FRUITS & VEGETABLES!!! (Pears, fruit cocktail, applesauce, carrots, mixed veggies, corn)

* 100% FRUIT JUICE

* PASTA & SPAGHETTI SAUCE

* CANNED OR PACKAGED TUNA

* CONDIMENTS (ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce, marinade, etc)

* PEANUT BUTTER

* SHAMPOO/CONDITIONER

* TOILET PAPER & #2 and #3 DIAPERS

* TAMPONS

You can drop off your donations any time between 9 and 4 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday.  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

Our Place FIESTA — Project Feed the Thousands Kickoff!

Board Member Nancy Sargent in Action

It’s that time of year again — FIESTA time!!!   Mark your calendars, please!

Thursday, September 16th from 5-7 p.m. at Our Place / 4 Island Street / Bellows Falls

The 2nd Annual Our Place fiesta is our chance to thank our very generous volunteers, donors, and new stewards and formally launch the important Project Feed the Thousands food drive.

Matt, the Our Place cook, plans to grill wings and corn on the cob and we’ll complement that with all kinds of healthy munchies and sides.   Harvest Moon will be there with a cash bar.

Here’s a shot of Board Member and Development Committee Chair Nancy Sargent staffing the Our Place gazebo at a recent community event.

Hope to see you at Our Place on Sept 16th.   Please RSVP at 463-2217.

Our Place – 2010 Stewardship Initiative

Wow!   In the first month, close to 60 community members responded to Our Place’s new stewardship initiative.  We calculated what it costs Our Place to provide meals and groceries for households of different sizes for varying durations and invited people to team up with family members, neighbors, or colleagues to cover those expenses.

Check out our new banner, now hanging in The Square to thank all of you who are so generous to Our Place.

Please plan on coming to the 2nd Annual Our Place fiesta – scheduled for Thursday, September 16th from 5-7 p.m.

Our Place — CLOSED July 19-23

Hello –

Please note that Our Place will be closed next week.  Please feel free to stop by this week to get information on the various community meals served in the area — and to pick up groceries.   Call 463-2217.

Our Place at Saxtons River Parade

Just a note to invite you to stop by the Our Place gazebo at this Sunday’s 4th of July Parade down Main Street in Saxtons River!   We’ll be offering cold drinks and our cook’s yummy blueberry quick bread by donation.

AND we’ll have 50-50 raffle tickets available!    The drawing will be at the 2nd Annual Our Place Fiesta being held this year at Boccelli’s On the Canal the eve of Thursday, September 16th.

Our Place on Facebook!

New Our Place Board member Maryann McArdle has hit the ground running!   Within hours of joining the Board, Maryann identified the next step in the process of accepting online donations and updated OP’s Facebook page.     Now that’s a volunteer any organization would appreciate!

Please take a minute to become a fan of Our Place on Facebook!

Thank you!

Nan

Development Update

Our Place continues to enjoy the active and generous support of our community!     Thank you, thank you, thank you!

1.   Mark your calendars —>   September 16th (2nd annual Our Place fiesta at Boccelli’s) & November 7th (always sold-out Empty Bowl dinner at Alysson’s Orchard)

2.  Welcome Center hospitality fundraiser ––>  Thanks to Grafton Cheese Company, Vermont Country Store, Drew’s Natural, the Vermont Foodbank, Dutton’s Farmstand, Allen Brothers, Discount Food Warehouse, and Mr. G’s for donations of food that permitted Our Place to welcome travelers into our beautiful state with quite the spread of Vermont-made food products.   We also met our fundraising goal of $750.

3. New Stewardship Initiative —> In July, Our Place is unveiling a new initiative making it easier for people to team up with family, friend, or colleagues to serve as Our Place Stewards.   Stay tuned!

4.  Farmers Market —> Our Place will be collecting locally produced food at the Bellows Falls Farmers Market two Fridays per month beginning in July.   Please be sure to stop by our colorful gazebo, say ‘hello’ and pick up a copy of our cook’s wishlist and a shopping bag to drop in our food collection bin on your way out.   We LOVE supporting local growers and food producers in this way!!!!    Win-win-win!!!!

5.  50-50 Raffle – Each year, Our Place raises $2500 through the sale of raffle tickets.   Tickets are $20 each and only 250 will be sold between now and September 16th when the winning tickets will be drawn at the Fiesta.  50-50 is a bit of a misnomer in that you actually have five chances to win — 1st prize = $1000, 2nd & 3rd prizes = $500, and 4th & 5th = $250.   Improve your chances by buying more than one!  ;-)   Tickets are available from any Board member, at the gazebo wherever you see it set up this summer, and at the center Monday-Friday.

That’s it for now!    Again, thank you for your support!!!!

Scoop the Loop food drive / community walk!

Diane Harty, an Our Place Board member, is coordinating a new food drive / event to help fill the center’s relatively empty shelves in advance of the local harvest and summer giving period.   Please participate!!!!

Basically, all you have to do is:

* show up by 9:50 or so on Saturday, May 22nd (raindate May 23rd) with some food for the food shelf

* choose to walk one of two routes – 2 miles or .8 miles

* join the right group and walk away

* enjoy ice cream, entertainment,  great community spirit & individual / team awards upon return to Our Place!

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I’ll post the award categories as soon as they are finalized!   Call 802-463-2217 for more info or email ourplace@sover.net.

People served in 2009

Total meals served:     7,348

(up 26% over 2008)


Total people served by food shelf:   3,922

(up 18% over 2008)

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