It's Thanksgiving time and many of Vermont's less fortunate emerge from the shadows to seek help in giving thanks with all the trimmings. But while many will not ask for help, remaining in the shadows even during the holiday season, one local service organization will be there to help. This organization-Black River Good Neighbors Services-plays a valuable support role for those residents who are in need of food and clothing for the holidays and beyond.
Audrey Bridge, who spends many busy days coordinating volunteers while answering thrift shop customer questions at Black River Good Neighbors Services in Ludlow, helped coordinate a big move to the tank garage at the Ludlow armory site recently. She said relocating enabled BRGNS to provide more food for persons in need while expanding its nifty thrift shop.
"We will have gained 1,000 square feet in the new locale," Bridge said before the move.
Bridge oversees the non-profit agency that provides confidential, temporary food, clothing and financial assistance to those in need to help them return to self-sufficiency. The agency serves Ludlow, Cavendish, Proctorsville, Mt. Holly and Plymouth.
Originally housed in the Ludlow United Church, BRGNS moved when a building was donated to the agency by Neil Hammond in 1995.
"But we outgrew the space in 15 years," Bridge said.
According to Bridge, the food shop and thrift shop are primary operations.
"But we also provide rent, heat and other assistance for those who meet our guidelines," she added.
In these difficult economic times, more and more Vermonters are meeting those guidelines, unfortunately.
BRGNS Board President Jim Fuller said, "As a 501-c3 non-profit organization, which takes no government funding, we need to explore new ways to raise money. Money raised will go to cover the ever increasing demands for food, rent, and utility assistance which we provide to our neighbors in need."