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Hunger Mountain Co-op Teams with Capstone to Help Vermonters

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Anyone who has lived in or visited Vermont during winter may be familiar with just how beautiful but unforgiving a season it can be. The sometimes biting, bone-chilling cold is undeniable and can be a challenge for some residents trying to escape from it. Helping Vermonters find food, shelter, and warmth, especially on frigid winter days, is just one of the many important priorities for Capstone Community Action.

“It’s nearly impossible to think of the future when you’re focused on your next meal, where you’re going to sleep that night, or if you’ll have heat in the winter. Once this is addressed, then we can help elevate their perspective of what’s possible,” says Sue Minter, the organization’s executive director.

Three years ago, Capstone Community Action partnered with VSECU to launch the “Fuel Your Neighbors” program, which raises money for emergency food and heating assistance and helps members of our community meet their basic needs, especially during the winter.

One way Capstone achieves this is through their food shelf, which receives funding from the Fuel Your Neighbors initiative. Capstone’s food shelf, the largest in Central Vermont, provides food to thousands of area residents—275,000 pounds of food last year alone. Fuel Your Neighbors also helps bridge the gap for community members who may struggle to afford to heat their homes, while not qualifying for publicly funded heating assistance. With the help Capstone can provide, those residents can avoid making impossible decisions, such as choosing between heating their home or putting food on the table.

“The people we serve are your neighbors, your kid’s classmates, your waiter, your chairlift operator, your childcare provider,” Minter says. “Rural poverty is much less obvious, but it is painfully real and prevalent. We work with households who are experiencing a setback as a result of a job loss, illness, or other changes in family circumstances. Without heat in your home, you’re forced to turn off the water, so the pipes don’t freeze. You’re practically homeless at that point. For households with children or senior citizens, lack of adequate heat can cause serious health risks. Through our emergency services, our objective is to prevent people from having to face these conditions.”

The community can help Capstone achieve that objective throughout the month of January by supporting Fuel Your Neighbors every time they shop at Hunger Mountain Co-op. When shoppers round up purchases to the next dollar, they are giving that change directly to this effort to meet the increased demand for emergency food and heating assistance in central Vermont. Capstone’s goal is to raise $100,000 during this 100-day initiative, and the change you give will go a long way toward reaching that financial goal and the goals of the Fuel Your Neighbors program. 

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