Rally For Change

Join the Rally for Change for Addison County Community Trust – May 4th – 10th!

Are you looking for an easy way to give back to your local community?  Just round up your total at the registers next time you shop at the Co-op.  During most of the year, your “spare change” will go directly to our two area food shelves – CVOEO an HOPE.  Because we value your experience at the Co-op, we will not usually verbally solicit “round up” donations from you at the register.  But four times a year, we just get too excited and hold a Rally for Change!

The Co-op’s Rally for Change program is an effort to promote and raise money for local (Addison County Based) non-profit organizations.  Every three months, for one week, we shine a spotlight on a local non-profit organization whose primary mission is to serve at-risk populations.  With their help, we share information about the organization, including more ways to become involved beyond donating at the registers.  Representatives from the organization join us in the store so that our shoppers can learn more directly from the folks who are on the front lines of delivering help to those in need.   At the end of the week, the Co-op will match any donations raised at the registers.



Rally for Change for John Graham Housing & Services February 9 – 15

It’s winter in Vermont.  While most of us are cozy in front of our wood stoves and heaters, hundreds of Vermonters have no place to call home. No place to cook a meal, get warm, take a shower, or do homework. No place where they feel safe and secure.  For thousands of homeless Vermonters, John Graham Housing and Services has been the answer to this enormous challenge.

During the week of February 9-15, you can help them answer that challenge by rounding up your total at the register (or donating even more, if you can!).  The Co-op will match whatever is raised by our shoppers and donate it to this amazing organization.  The Shelter will use the Rally for Change funds to deliver healthy food to homeless families and individuals living at their five buildings, and to provide first month’s rent and deposits directly to people who are moving into permanent housing. In other words, every cent raised through the Rally for Change will go directly food and housing for homeless people.

Since 1980, John Graham Housing and Services has been providing:

  • Food, Shelter and Housing
  • Services and Support to help transform lives
  • Prevention and Intervention in times of crisis

The organization began as a shelter for individuals, but about twelve years ago, it evolved into  an emergency shelter that could also accommodate families.  Today, in addition to providing emergency shelter for around 25 people at their main building in downtown Vergennes, John Graham also owns and operates other housing units in town, as well as in Bristol and Middlebury.  Each year, John Graham helps find housing and support services for around 200 individuals.  While many of these clients use the services of their emergency shelter, many more benefit from assistance with long term housing, which helps them establish a rental history and move on to more self-sufficient housing opportunities.  Many clients also benefit from clinical support services, to help with the mental and emotional health issues that so often go hand in hand with homelessness.  Please take a few minutes to watch this video about the shelter.

A note from John Graham Housing and Services:

As a state, we have made tremendous progress in ending homelessness. The number of homeless individuals dropped by 29% from January 2014 to January 2016. And yet still, well over a thousand Vermonters will live outside or in emergency shelter this winter.

With your help, we can provide food, shelter, and hope to transform the lives of our neighbors.

The following is a report about the state of homelesness in Vermont, from the John Graham Housing & Services web site:

Putting Homelessness into Perspective


There is not a single state in the country where a full-time minimum-wage worker can afford a market-rate one or two-bedroom rental.14 Vermont is no exception. Rising rents, stagnating wages, and an extreme lack of affordable housing mean that Vermont families have less and less access to safe and stable housing. At the same time, rates of homelessness are on the rise, and families are staying longer in shelters.

The 2015 statewide average for a market-rate two-bedroom apartment was $1,076. In Chittenden County it was $1,328.17 In order to afford these rents without being cost burdened (see sidebar), a full-time worker would need to make between $20.69 and $25.54 an hour. In other words, a household relying on minimum wage would need to work 111 hours per week- or nearly three full time jobs-to afford market- rate rent in Burlington.15

Renters in Chittenden County are among the most cost-burdened in New England.16 More than half (53 percent) of renter households in Chittenden County pay more than 30 percent of their income towards rent, and 28 percent spend more than half of their income on rent. Cost burdens are nearly as high in Vermont as a whole, with 48 percent of renter households in the state spending more than 30 percent, and 24 percent spending than half-or more-of their income on rent.17

The impossible choice between shelter, adequate food, childcare, heating, and healthcare is a significant stressor for thousands of cost-burdened Vermont families. There are no good places to cut corners when there is not enough money for basic necessities.

At John Graham, most able residents work full-time and are still unable to afford decent housing. In order to bridge the gap between low wages and high cost of living, we work to connect clients with the programs and subsidies they need for their families to thrive.

The Fair Market Rent for the average two-bedroom apartment in Addison County is $946. If we assume that rent is 30% of income, a family would need to earn $3,153 monthly or $37,840 each year to keep up with the bills.

Most of the parents we serve work at stores, gas stations, restaurants, farms or at entry level manufacturing jobs. They just can’t afford rising rent. To add to the problem, there are not enough affordable rental units available. The lower the income threshold, the greater the shortage of affordable and available units. Addison County has fewer than 30 units available for every 100 households with very low incomes!

In addition, many contributing factors of stress on individuals foments widespread drug abuse. Opiate addictions in VT increased by 770% between 2000 and 2014. Deaths from overdose have multiplied in recent years. And the number of alleged child abuse or neglect cases filed in courts across Vermont has also climbed. Some experts attribute this rise to the impact of opiate addiction and increased homelessness on child safety.



A contributing factor to Vermont’s high rents is the extremely low vacancy rate statewide. Approximately 29 percent of Vermont families are renters, but there is an extreme shortage of affordable rental units. While nationwide vacancy rates hover around 7 percent, Vermont faces a 1 percent vacancy rate.18

Subsidized units and units with more than three bedrooms for larger families are in particularly short supply, with zero percent vacancy and long wait lists in large renter areas like Chittenden County.19 The result is that low-income families are increasingly pushed into overcrowded and substandard housing.20



Families struggling with unaffordable housing costs often face impossible choices between essential expenses. In Vermont, harsh winters make heating costs a crucial budget item, but 20 percent of state residents spend an unaffordable amount of their income on fuel. Vermont is consistently the least affordable state in the country when energy costs are measured as a percent of household budgets.22

A household that spends more than 10% of its income on fuel is considered to be “Fuel Poor.” According to a recent report by the Vermont Low Income Trust for Electricity, 125,000, or 1 in 5, Vermonters were fuel poor in 2012, up 76 percent since the year 2000. The poorest 30 percent of households spent an average of one sixth of their income on fuel, and nearly 60 percent were considered fuel poor. 23 In the 13,000 households surviving on less than half of the federal poverty level, 56 percent of income went to energy costs.24

While fuel poverty is much more common and extreme among low-income households, a substantial number of Vermonters at all income levels are classified as Fuel Poor. Expensive fuel, energy-inefficient homes and appliances, and houses that are too big for current occupants (as is the case with many elderly people experiencing fuel poverty) can all contribute to unaffordable fuel costs.

Fuel poverty can have serious negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of children, elderly people, and those with long-term illnesses. These vulnerable populations often spend more time at home and need to heat their homes throughout the day. Cold and damp houses lead to increased occurrences of respiratory and circulatory illness, including bronchitis, asthma, and strokes. Under-heated houses are also associated with increased severity of seasonal colds and flu and arthritic symptoms, and children living in these homes are twice as likely to have asthma, bronchitis, and to miss school because of illness.25 These conditions, paired with the reality that many poor families reduce food intake to pay for fuel, mean that infants in low- income households without access to fuel subsidies are more likely to be low weight and require emergency medical care.26

In 2014, residents statewide spent a total of $206 million more on energy costs than is considered affordable.27 At least 30,000 households living below the poverty level were Fuel Poor in 2014, paying between 30 percent and 56 percent of their income to cover energy costs,28 but only 6,628 households received essential state assistance for their energy bills.29 Energy Assistance funding levels for 2014 met just 8 percent of the need for households experiencing this affordability gap.30



On January 27, 2015, a coalition of statewide groups counted 1,523 homeless Vermonters. Nearly one in five households counted included children.31 A one-night count in December 2014 showed that more than a quarter of those staying in state-funded shelters were children.32 More than half of those counted were families with children or unaccompanied youth.

Vermont has one of the highest rates of homelessness in New England, second only to Massachusetts. With over 23 people experiencing homelessness per 10,000 residents, Vermont’s rate of homelessness is 20 percent higher than the national average. Furthermore, although there was a 3.7 percent decrease in the number of people who experienced homelessness nationally from 2012 to 2013, Vermont saw a 25.34 percent increase in overall reported homelessness and a 48.52 percent increase in family homelessness.33

During the 2013-2014 school year, 1,145 homeless youth were enrolled in Vermont schools. While the majority of these students were “doubled up,” staying with friends and couch surfing, more than 1 in 7 was living in a shelter, campground, car, or was otherwise un-housed.34 The number of homeless students in the state is up 46 percent from 2010 after a peak of 1,202 students in 2012 following displacement due to Tropical Storm Irene. This general upward trend in the number of homeless youth reported for the past several years is particularly notable because declining enrollment statewide means that the portion of homeless students continues to rise.35



14. National Low Income Housing Coalition (2015), Out of Reach 2015: http://nlihc.org/oor
15. According to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – determined 2014 Fair Market Rent (FMR) rates, based on the 40th percentile of prices of unites rented across a region in the past15 months. http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/fmr.html
16. Mauricio K (2013), Mapping New England: Rent Cost Burden over 30 percent by county, in “Communities & Banking,” vol 24, no 1, winter 2013.  Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
17. U.S. Census Bureau, 2009-2013 5-Year American Community Survey, Table B25070: Gross Rent as a Percentage of Household Income in the Past 12 Months, accessed via American FactfFinder.
18. Callis R and Kresin M. (2015), Residential Vacancies And Homeownership In The Fourth Quarter 2014, U.S. Department of Commerce, Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division.
19. Bowen, Patrick M (2015), Vermont Statewide Housing Needs Assessment. Prepared for Vermont Department of Housing & Community Development by Bowen National Research, pg 73.
20. Bowen, Patrick M (2015), Vermont Statewide Housing Needs Assessment. Prepared for Vermont Department of Housing & Community Development by Bowen National Research, pg 74.
21. Teller-Elsberg, Sovacool, Smith, and Laine (2014), ENERGY COSTS AND BURDENS IN VERMONT: BURDENSOME FOR WHOM?, prepared by the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School for the Vermont Low Income Trust for Electricity, pg 5.
22. Fisher Sheehan Colton (2012), Home Energy Affordability Gap Ranking:  Dollar Gap per Household by State.
23. Teller-Elsberg, Sovacool, Smith, and Laine (2014), ENERGY COSTS AND BURDENS IN VERMONT: BURDENSOME FOR WHOM?, prepared by the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School for the Vermont Low Income Trust for Electricity, pg 4
24. Fisher, Sheehan& Colton (2015), The Home Energy Affordability Gap 2014 {2nd Series): Vermont, pg 1. available at http://www.homeenergyaffordabilitygap.com/03a_affordabilityData.html
25. MarmotReviewTeam(2011),  TheHealthImpactsof Cold Homes and Fuel Poverty.  Friends of the Earth.
26. Teller-Elsberg, Sovacool, Smith, and Laine (2014), ENERGY COSTS AND BURDENS IN VERMONT: BURDENSOME FOR WHOM?, prepared by the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School for the Vermont Low Income Trust for Electricity.
27. Fisher, Sheehan& Colton(2015), The Home Energy Affordability Gap 2014 {2nd Series): Vermont, pg 2. available at http://www.homeenergyaffordabilitygap.com/03a_affordabilityData.html
28) ibid.
29) Fisher, Sheehan& Colton(2015), The Home Energy Affordability Gap 2014 {2nd Series): Vermont, pg 1. available at http://www.homeenergyaffordabilitygap.com/03a_affordabilityData.html

A Big Thank You from Addison County Food Shelves!

Thank you, generous shoppers!  With your help, through the Rally for Change, we were able to donate $3,785 to our local Food Shelves, CVOEO and HOPE.   The food shelves will use these funds to buy more of the shelf stable staples that their clients rely on, but they will also be used to buy items they can not often stock, such as fresh produce, dairy, and baking items for the holidays.  Because of your kindness, hundreds of Vermonters will not have to go without food this holiday season.  Half of these funds were raised by shoppers who rounded up their totals at the register 11/10-11/16.  The Co-op matched these funds and mailed checks out to the food shelves, last week.  What a difference a little spare change can make.

Want to learn more about our local Food Shelves?  Check them out at:




Round Up at the Registers for the Food Shelves 11/10-11/16!

Our Annual Rally for Change for local food shelves, CVOEO and HOPE starts on November 10th!  Just round up your total (or feel free to give more!) at the registers between 11/10 and 11/16 and the Co-op will match your donation!  What an easy way to do good this holiday season!

Hunger is not just an issue on the other side of the world.  Food insecurity is right at home in Vermont, and no one works on the front lines to combat this in Addison County like our two local food shelves – CVOEO and HOPE.    These two organizations spend a lot of their resources trying to get food to hungry Vermonters, but that’s not the whole story.  Want to know more?  Read on, to here about them, in their own words:


Linda Tirado knows poverty first hand. She has lived in it for the majority of her adult life. She also knows what it is to live in the middle class. In her book, Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap  America, she gives a definition of poverty that puts our world in perspective. “Poverty is when a quarter is a miracle. Poor is when a dollar is a miracle.  Broke is when five bucks is a miracle. Wor-
king class is being broke, but doing so in a place that might not be run down. Middle class is being able to own some toys and live in a nice place – and by ”nice” I don’t mean fancy.”

In Addison County: 1 in 5 children and youth know hunger; over 3,500 residents participate in the 3Squares VT program; there are 26 summer meal sites; and 10 senior meal sites server older citizens several times a week, all summer long.  Last summer, between May 1st and August 30th, CVOEO’s Food Shelf in Middlebury served 1,299 individuals. 342 of this number were under the age of 18, and 209 were seniors. Individuals and families come from towns throughout Addison County.

Donna Rose is the Food Shelf Coordinator.  We are located at 54 Creek Road in Middlebury. CVOEO is a nonprofit corporation, formed in 1965 to carry out the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in Addison, Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties. CVOEO is one of five Community Action Agencies in Vermont. Its mission is to address fundamental issues of economic, social and racial justice.  It works with people to achieve economic independence, bridge gaps and build futures.  For more information, go to  https://www.cvoeo.org/


HOPE is a private, locally governed organization that has been alleviating the distress of poverty in Addison County for over 50 years by providing a broad range of individualized services &  opportunities. HOPE’s staff members don’t say “this is what we can do”, rather they ask “what do you need?” HOPE fills in the gaps left by government programs, including help with heating & housing, medicines, job-related needs & more. They provide assistance to homeless persons, including those with significant housing barriers such as severe mental illness & substance abuse disorders.

HOPE offers healthy holiday meal baskets, and in the the HOPE Holiday Shop, low-income parents can select, free of charge, new clothing, toys and books for their children.

HOPE runs the largest food shelf in Addison County, serving an average of 600 people each month. Last year, they provided food to 6,248 people, including 481 senior citizens and 1,659 children. In 2015, they provided food for over 61,000 meals, distributed 10,797 pounds of local farm produce, & provided nearly 400 holiday meal boxes. This year they are on track to exceed their 2015 numbers.

HOPE’s Local Food Access Coordinator, Lily Bradburn, has been working with local farmers, picking up donated produce, leading crews to glean food in the fields, & purchasing crops for winter storage. Volunteers are needed to glean,  process and cook food. For more information or to volunteer, call 802-388-3608. HOPE is located at 282 Boardman St., behind Homeward Bound.  For more information, please go to http://www.hope-vt.org/


With your help, The Co-op raised $3,355 for The Open Door Clinic!  The money will be used to help support their dental program.  Our Rally for Change for ODC lasted from August 18th to August 24th.  During that time, Co-op Shoppers rounded up their purchase totals at the registers to donate to the Clinic.  The Co-op matched the total Shopper donations, and it was our most successful Rally, ever!  To find out more about how the Rally for Change worked, and about Open Door Clinic, click here! 

Rally for Change for Open Door Clinic Starts August 18th

Join the Co-op’s Rally for Change for Addison County’s Open Door Clinic!

Between August 18th and 24th, round up your total at the registers, and the Co-op will match your donation.  All donations will be used to support the Clinic’s dental program. Since November 2013, the Clinic has leveraged three distinct gifts/grants to help more than 84 patients access dental care. They have also arranged for a volunteer interpreter and free transportation for these appointments. While proud of these accomplishments, they want to establish a more comprehensive and sustainable dental program. In 2015, with the support of five local volunteer dentists and two grants, they launched an innovative dental program for their patients. In January, Dr. Adam Fasoli joined the program as their Volunteer Dental Director, and they hired a part-time dental hygienist to provide screenings and cleanings to their patients.

Check out their brand new video, to learn more!

All about the Open Door Clinic:

  • Their Mission: The Open Door Clinic provides access to quality healthcare services, free of charge, to those who are uninsured or under-insured and who meet financial eligibility guidelines; services are provided in a compassionate, respectful and culturally sensitive manner until a permanent healthcare provider can be established.
  • Founded in 1990, the Open Door Clinic started “on wheels”, when a bus would ride through Addison County increasing access to healthcare. By 1993, a free standing clinic was established in Middlebury, followed by a second site in Vergennes in 2010. They have been growing since and now hold more than 7 clinics per month.
  • In 2009, they received a federal grant to expand their outreach to area migrant farm workers. Over the last 7 years, they have grown from visiting 2 farms, serving 108 migrant workers, to 35 farms and 8 orchards, serving 270 Latino farm workers. The Latino migrant farm workers now comprise 57% of their total patient population.
  • The Clinic employs seven part-time staff and provides acute and chronic care to their patients through 140 volunteers, including their medical and dental directors. When needed, they refer patients to a wide variety of area specialists.

Find out more about the clinic on their website: http://www.opendoormidd.org/

Comic Book Program for Migrant Workers:


The Clinic’s migrant farm worker population now comprises more than half of their client load. Migrant workers face so many unique challenges, and the clinic is always innovating to accommodate their needs. The lives of many migrant workers are touched by physical, mental and emotional hardships that are almost intrinsic to their way of life.  One particularly original (and kind of fun!) approach to helping workers make sense of these hardships comes from Julia Doucet, Outreach Nurse at the Open Door Clinic in Middlebury. Doucet started a comic book project by migrant farm workers in Addison County. Migrant workers provided the text for the series that explores a variety of themes important to the workers. The goal of this project, in Ms. Doucet’s words, is to “make someone feel slightly better and less alone,” and “to make them feel like there is a supportive community of people who can understand and hold their experience for them, to share their burden.”  Here’s a link to a great article about this program from the Addison Independent:




Team Members
Team Members
Cooper Couch, ODC’s former Patient Services Coordinator, helps patients filling out paperwork
Corey Mallon, RN and Sam Kollmorgen, EMT see patient at the ODC in Vergennes
Corey Mallon, RN and Sam Kollmorgen, EMT see patient at the ODC in Vergennes
Dr. Terry Naumann, ODC's Volunteer Medical Director
Dr. Terry Naumann, ODC’s Volunteer Medical Director
Pat Jackson, a volunteer nurse, and Jody Brakeley, BSRN, ODC's Clinic Coordinator, at clinic in Middlebury
Pat Jackson, a volunteer nurse, and Jody Brakeley, BSRN, ODC’s Clinic Coordinator, at clinic in Middlebury
Steve Brown, RN with a patient in Vergennes


Middlebury Clinic Location
Middlebury Clinic Location
Vergennes Clinic Location
Vergennes Clinic Location
On the Job!
On the Job!

Rally for Change for Homeward Bound – We did it!

Thank you so much for “rounding up” during our Rally for Change, May 12-18!  With your help, we were able to raise $1,126 for Homeward Bound.  The Co-op matched that amount, so we were able to donate a total of $2,252 to help care for animals in need.   Here’s a word from Homeward Bound Director, Jessica Danyow, about just how they’ll put the donation to use:

Homeward Bound, Addison County’s Humane Society, is so grateful for the community fundraising done by the Middlebury Coop through Rally for Change.   By transporting dogs and cats to Homeward Bound from high-volume shelters around the country, we are on track to double the number of animals we help annually.  We are proud of this and grateful for funds that will allow us to meet the medical needs and expenses of these animals.   Rally for Change donations will help us pay for diagnostic work-ups for senior animals, dental cleanings, spay and neuter surgeries and more!   Here are two beneficiaries of Rally for Change donations: Hugo, a sweet, shy hound mix from upstate New York  and delicate Nema, who hails all the way from Texas.   Thank you!






Homeward Bound Rally For Change Begins Today!

Today marks the start of our Rally For Change to benefit Homeward Bound – Addison County’s Humane Society! When shopping at the Co-op today through May 18th,  your cashier will ask you if you’d like to round up to help our furry friends in need. Each time you do, 100% of your contribution will go directly to support Homeward Bound, and we’ll match your donations! Read on to learn more about Homeward Bound and they very important work they do for our community:



Homeward Bound: Addison County’s Humane Society is a private, independent non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the well being of homeless, abandoned, and abused or neglected animals. Founded in 1975, Homeward Bound is happy to have recently celebrated its 40-year anniversary, and since its inception has served over 20,000 animals.


To educate the community and improve the lives of animals, alleviate their suffering, and elevate their status in society. We safeguard, rescue, shelter, heal, adopt, and advocate for animals in need, while inspiring community action and compassion on their behalf.


  • We envision a world that is nurturing and compassionate towards all animals
  • We envision a world where no animal suffers from abuse or neglect
  • We envision a world in which all people regard companion animals as lifelong, valued family members

At Homeward Bound, we safeguard, rescue, shelter, heal, adopt and advocate for animals in need, while inspiring community action and compassion on their behalf. We serve approximately 650 animals in the shelter every year and provide services and support for an average of 200 community animals annually. We operate programs to help curb pet overpopulation, provide support for low-income pet owners, and address issues of animal neglect and cruelty. We offer humane education on many levels, including a full day summer camp, and we have an ongoing volunteer program with 81 active volunteers.

We will apply any proceeds received from the Middlebury Coop’s Rally for Change week to the costs providing direct animal care and medical services. All of the animals in our shelter receive spay/neuter services, vaccinations as needed, microchip identification, and other necessary medical procedures as recommended by veterinarians. Our 2016 budget for providing for spay/neuter and medical care is $27,000.

We are grateful for support of the Middlebury Coop and to be named as a beneficiary of Rally for Change week.

Respectfully submitted,

Jessica Danyow
Executive Director

Freckles 4
Gizmo 1
Ice Cream Social 059
Ice Cream Social 066
Jax 2
Ludlie 1
Ohgie 2
Peanut Butter 3
Snowball 1
Terri and Mya
Tesla front desk
Azalea 2
Chris O