By Tim Simard
For the seventh year in a row, the Hunger Mountain Cooperative has made a significant donation to several local organizations through its Community Fund. Seven Central Vermont organizations received grants totaling $7,650 to help fund needed projects and initiatives.
“We love this and our members love this. [The Community Fund] fits right in with our mission and helps us create more partners in our community,” says co-op general manager Kari Bradley.
The community grant recipients are to be announced Thursday, November 1, at the co-op’s annual membership meeting. (See the box below for the full list.)
In 2018, many of the groups that asked for grants had food preservation projects in the works.
“It became kind of a theme for this year, and we noticed more and more a prevalent need. Awards of $500 to $1,500 can make a real difference for some organizations,” Bradley says.
Twin Valley Senior Center was one of the grant recipients, earning one of the highest amounts of $1,500. The center’s executive director, Rita Copeland, said the money will go toward purchasing a new commercial freezer. Twin Valley Senior Center distributes Meals on Wheels to homebound seniors throughout six Central Vermont communities, and hosts breakfasts and lunches three days a week from its East Montpelier location.
“We have several freezers that were donated that are a little old and inefficient. For some time we’ve wanted a new, conventional, double-door freezer for our center’s needs and this will help us do that,” Copeland says.
Copeland adds that her organization serves 225 senior citizens at least three times a week through Meals on Wheels, as well as 75 more people at the center when it’s open.
“It’s a lot for a small organization like us, but community donations and grants like the co-op’s get us there,” she says, adding that the center will purchase a new freezer later this year.
Bradley says the co-op received 27 grant applications this year from a variety of organizations—community groups, local businesses, and area farms. Some of these organizations, such as the Twin Valley Senior Center and Capstone Community Action, have received Community Fund grants in past years for various projects.
Other groups, such as Steadyfoot Farm in Walden, are first-time recipients. Steadyfoot Farm received $500 to increase cold storage capacity.
“The co-op likes to support the next generation of farmers who are just getting on their feet,” Bradley says.
Members of the co-op’s council are among those who decide which groups receive the grants each year. Each project has to meet certain benchmarks to receive funding.
The Community Fund is largely driven by the co-op’s members, who can choose to set aside a portion of their dues specifically for this cause.
“It’s something that our members are becoming more and more aware of since we started this in 2011,” Bradley says.
He added that since the Community Fund’s inception, the co-op has donated more than $45,000 in grant money.
- Ananda Gardens, $500 for barn retrofit for wash/pack station.
- Another Way Community Center, $1,500 for commercial kitchen stove upgrade.
- Capstone Community Action, $1,000 to add freezer capacity to its food shelf.
- Good Samaritan Haven, $1,150 to purchase new commercial freezer.
- Salvation Farms, $1,500 to outfit its Lamoille Valley Gleaning cooler space.
- Steadyfoot Farm, $500 to increase cold storage capacity.
- Twin Valley Senior Center, $1,500 to purchase commercial freezer.