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February 2024 Letter to Volunteers

Dear Volunteers,

“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” Author Unknown.

Let’s start with the good news. This month we received 1895 pounds of food and personal products from three organizations: Essex Alliance, Fusion Volleyball and Lewis Creek Builders – a church, a youth sports team, and a business. That’s what I call community support. If you are part of any organization, please consider asking if they would do a food drive for us. We are really hoping to increase food drives this year. 

 Also, today we were notified that we are going to receive $1600 from a Vermont Fresh Mini Grant and $3500 from Vermonters Feeding Vermonters.

Other good news is that Aunt Dot’s Place is partnering with L4 Collective, at West Street Community Gardens, to grow food for our clients, which will help reduce spending on produce.  We now have a crop plan for what we are going to grow, and we will be using money raised last November for seeds, seedlings, and soil amendments. If you are interested in helping in the gardens this spring and summer, email The Vermont Garden Network will have two events at Aunt Dot’s Place, July 6th, and October 19th with their mobile kitchen in our upper parking lot to demonstrate meal prep with produce from our gardens. Clients will receive a kit of ingredients and a recipe card.

Also, we met today with a UVM student named Anna Mendenhall, who will be volunteering ten hours a week doing a variety of tasks on-site as well as off-site. If you see her when she is volunteering, be sure to welcome her. 

We’ve recently expanded our Backpacks for Students program to Essex High School and Essex Middle School, providing an emergency supply of food in a backpack and a registration form for Aunt Dot’s Place. This is a small program but seems to be picking up. 

We were at the Annual Blood Drive in Memory of Addi on February 10th  at Founders Memorial School in Essex. Forty-five pounds of food were donated, and we raised $132.00 with our raffle. If you are in Nusantara, you might want to thank them for the $50.00 gift card they generously gave for the raffle. 

I need some volunteers for our Outreach Committee to increase our outreach to potential clients, and to potential donors. Also, we are going to have some openings for Shift Leader coming up very soon.  Please email if you would like to be on this committee or if you are interested in volunteering as a shift leader. The beCause Craft Fair is going to be May 4th, so put that date on your calendar if you might want to volunteer at that event or contribute a baked goods.

Finally, I want to talk about an important issue. We are facing the serious challenge that our building (with its low rent) is for sale. Finding an affordable place if/when our building sells will be a tremendous challenge. We may have to spend up to three times more than we currently spend on rent. Considering that fact, the board will be looking at how to cut costs and raise income. If you know of any places that could house our operation or any organizations that we could work with to jointly pay for a place, please let us know. 

Purchased Food $10,909

Weight of Purchased Food 7735 pounds.

Food Drive Donations

  • Town Meadow – 34 pounds
  • Fusion Volleyball tournament – 139 pounds

Donations from Organizations

  • Box Car Bakery – 38 pounds
  • Essex Alliance – 935 pounds
  • Essex Free Library – 55 pounds
  • Nest Bakery – 15 pounds
  • Pepperidge Farm – 127 pounds
  • Poorhouse Pies – 72 pounds
  • Price Chopper bin – 471 pounds

Donations from grocery stores

  • Costco -1938 pounds
  • Hannaford – 2128 pounds
  • Trader Joe’s -1053 pounds

Thank you volunteers for all you do! You are so appreciated!

Sincerely, Sue Miyamoto

Board President

Aunt Dot’s Place

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