By Shawn McGowan, JobsInME.com
Celebrating 10 years of connecting Vermont job seekers and employers, JobsInVT.com recently selected our fifth and final Live Work Give contest winners, who each selected a nonprofit to receive a $1,000 donation, in their name, from JobsInVT.com. One of the Live Work Give contest winners was Nancy Brower, who chose The Community Cupboard of Rutland, Vermont. I recently caught up with Community Cupboard Executive Director, Susan Bassett, to learn more about this organization that is dedicated to providing food to community members who need it in the Rutland area.
What is The Community Cupboard's mission?
Susan Bassett, The Community Cupboard: Our mission is to assist with food needs so that no one has to go hungry.
How many hungry Vermonters does RCC serve ?
SB: The Community Cupboard serves about 2000 different families in a year. In any given month, about 500 families come to the Cupboard - about 1300 individuals each month.
How does one qualify for assistance from The Community Cupboard?
SB: To qualify, a family must live in a town that we serve (Rutland City, Rutland town, Mendon, Killington, Wallingford, East Wallingford, Cuttingsville, Shrewbury, Center Rutland - any town in Rutland County that does not have a food shelf of its own). We do not check income, but know that about 95 percent of our families are low income because they qualify for other low income programs - USDA Commodities, SNAP, WIC, etc.
Can you tell us about how the RCC got started?
SB: The Cupboard began about 18 years ago. At that time, many churches had a small amount of food available for people who came to their doors seeking help. The county clergy group wanted to combine efforts in order to reach more families and food more consistently to those in need. The group formed a non-profit for that purpose.
How much of your workforce is volunteers?
SB: The Cupboard has one employee - .75 FTE, but is manned by over 65 regular volunteers each month, plus an additional 12+ that help out during large food drives. Each volunteer has one or two regular shifts each month. In addition, our board is a volunteer board, and we have hundreds of volunteers in the community who help organize/collect/deliver and donate food throughout the year. We are supported 100 percent through donations - we receive no federal, state or local tax dollars.
Are there any milestones that The Community Cupboard is especially proud of?
SB: We are especially proud that we own our building. We have no rent or mortgage which allows us to use our donated dollars to purchase food. About one third of our food is through direct food donations, one third is purchased locally with donated dollars, and one third is purchased through the Vermont Foodbank.
Are there any upcoming events or fundraisers you could tell us about?
SB: We are proud our loyal volunteers and our dedicated community that continues to sponsor food drives and fundraising events for our benefit. Some of those events include the Three Tomatoes Community Fundraiser, which raised over $60,000 in 2013, the Letter Carriers Food Drive, The Pack the Paramount food drive, and the Green Mountain Power Fill The Cupboard Challenge. One event that is coming up in the near future is the Soup Bowls for Hunger event sponsored by Delta Kappa Gamma which is scheduled for March 27, 2014.
If you would like to, please contribute to The Community Cupboard.
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As a Social Media Marketing Coordinator, Shawn McGowan's passion for brand transparency and over 10 years of sales/customer service experience make him aptly suited for the job. A native of East Millinocket, Maine, Shawn grew up at the foot of Mount Katahdin and graduated from the University of Maine Presque Isle with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). When not writing, editing or immersing himself in the world of social media, he can be found enjoying the outdoors, art, music, tech, humor, Portland's amazing food scene, and all things nerdy. You can reach Shawn at smcgowan (at) JobsInME.com and Twitter.com/shonymac.