e-News | August 2020

Help us stock the shelves of Foodworks by participating in the
2020 Load the Latchis Food Drive! 

On Thursday, August 27th, 92.7 BrattFM will be collecting cash and check donations along with bags of food items from 8am - 4pm to fill every seat in the Latchis Theatre!

With concerns about COVID-19, there will be lots of hand sanitizer available from Farrell Distributing, everyone will be masked up, and no one will need to get out of their car.

Additionally, we’re encouraging people to make donations online whenever possible to keep the number of people on site as low as possible.  DONATE HERE!

Every $20 we raise fills a seat in the theatre and helps Foodworks to provide a 2-week box of food for a family of 4!

Please consider a donation HERE before 4pm on Thursday, August 27th!
Many thanks to this year's major sponsor, United Natural Foods!
Our greatest needs at Foodworks this month:  
  • Large Bottles/Cans/Containers of Juice
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • Canned Proteins (chicken, tuna, ready-meals, etc.)
  • Protein Drinks
  • Cereals
Contact Foodworks ...
  • if you are in need of food,
  • if you are interested in volunteering, and/or 
  • if you have any questions! 
802-490-2412  or


In a “normal” year, the Empty Bowls Dinner raises anywhere from $25,000 to $30,000 to support Foodworks.

The need is even greater this year as Foodworks is feeding twice as many families and individuals as a result of the impacts of COVID-19.

Social distancing requirements and an abundance of caution have led us to redesign this critical fundraiser for 2020 as follows:

Bowl Sales
Handcrafted bowls made by local potters are on sale HERE and in local business storefronts—including the Brattleboro Food Co-Op, Zephyr Designs, Vermont Artisan Designs, The Shoe Tree, The Putney Co-Op, Putney General Store, and Everyone’s Books!

Online purchases will be pre-packaged to be collected from one of three curbside pick up sites in Brattleboro and Putney on Saturday and Sunday, October 3rd and 4th.

Bowls will be sold for $25 each or as a 12-bowl Party Pack with soup recipes for $250—allowing you to “Host Your Own Empty Bowls” with a group of family and friends. (Party packs will be delivered for free anywhere within a 30-minute drive of Brattleboro.)

Curbside Bowl Pick-Up

Bowls purchased HERE online will be pre-packaged and available to pick up at one of three locations:

  • Saturday, October 3rd9am-Noon at The Memorial Park Skating Rink Lot, Brattleboro
  • Saturday, October 3rd, 1-4pm at River Valley Credit Union on Putney Road, Brattleboro
  • Sunday, October 4th, 1-4pm at River Valley Credit Union on Rt. 5 in Putney

Livestream Broadcast Event
In lieu of an in-person gathering—on Saturday, October 10th—Groundworks will host a livestream broadcast on YouTube featuring staff, volunteers and Board members, as well as music and the latest updates on Foodworks’ impact in the community.

More information about the livestream broadcast and bowl sales will be available on both the “Groundworks Collaborative” and “Empty Bowls – Southern Vermont” Facebook pages, and updates will be emailed to this newsletter list as more information becomes available.

For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please contact:  Sara Ryan, Empty Bowls Co-Chair:

A wonderful Groundworks donor has offered to match all donations made through this newsletter up to $500! 
Why not double the impact of your gift today? 
We should be ready to open the doors at the very end of 2020!
Huge thanks to EVERYONE who contributed to make this project possible!  Individual donors have given and pledged over $1.5 million!  
For more information about this project and complete drawings of what will be on this site (our community's Seasonal Overflow Shelter and Day Shelter/Drop-In Center), visit the Capital Campaign page on our website:
This year's
could look very different—if you want.  

While we are accustomed to holding our Hike at Mount Wantastiquet each fall—this year we are unable to obtain a permit to do so due to concerns about COVID-19.  In hopes of raising the $20,000 this event typically raises to support our vital housing support and shelter services—we're holding the virtual ...


60 South Main Street has been our community’s Drop-In Center—the entry-point for those seeking help to meet their basic needs—for decades.  Groundworks Collaborative meets people and their basic needs with dignity and is restoring dignity to 60 South Main Street as part of our construction and renovation project. 
Dignity has an address. 

The GIVE 60 CHALLENGE is a chance to devote time to a challenge of your choice in support of Groundworks’ housing and shelter programs.
The sky's the limit with this choose-your-own challenge fundraising event ...

Give some thought to how you'd like to GIVE 60 this fall and watch your email for registration information—including instructions to create your own challenge and fundraising page—in the coming weeks! 

These suggestions are just examples of hundreds of possible challenges you could do.  If you have other great GIVE 60 ideas to share, please let us know!  If you love Hike for the Homeless and want to keep up your hiking tradition, we'll also be sending out a list of our favorite local hikes (including Mount Wantastiquet).

Although we cannot gather together this year for The Hike, we can stay connected in working together to support this important work. 

Share your GIVE 60 CHALLENGE using hashtag:  #GIVE60CHALLENGE
Questions?  Email us!

We cannot allow HUD to remove important protections for trans people experiencing homelessness

Rhianna Kendrick
Groundworks' Director of Operations 

In a shocking move, during a time of crisis in our country, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), announced a plan to roll back protections for transgender people that were put into place in 2016.  The proposed modification is reconsidering the protections that allowed transgender people to access shelter space based upon their gender identity, and not their biologically determined sex.  The removal of this protection would allow for shelters to establish policies that place and accommodate individuals on the basis of their biological sex, without regard for their gender identity. 

Shelters are often the best access-point for a person experiencing homelessness into programs that provide safe, individual housing—a critical need during a global pandemic—which is putting those without a home at greater risk than ever before.  Shelters in this country largely operate based on gender binary—placing males and females in separate sleeping quarters.  While housing transgender people according to their gender identity does not pose a safety issue for others, failing to do so puts transgender people—who are more often victims of physical violence—in danger.  Given the scale of people experiencing homelessness—disproportionately so for those who are marginalized (Black, Latinx, Indigenous, transgender, non-native speakers of English, addicted, etc.)—HUD should be doing everything they can to scale up housing and homelessness services so they can be available to everyone who needs them; NOT pushing forward policies that will create further barriers to accessing housing.  

At Groundworks, we believe that housing is a human right.  Removing existing protections for transgender people experiencing homelessness and forcing people to accept shelter assigned without regard for their gender identity is discriminatory and wrong.  We strive to ensure that everyone in our community has their basic needs met with dignity.  We respect people’s identity and make every effort to codify that respect in our policies and procedures.  While we invite individuals to identify the space where they will feel most comfortable sleeping based upon their own gender identity, we also recognize that many shelters do not offer people this protection.  We will continue to ensure that our transgender neighbors in need of shelter have access to this protection, and we urge you to join us in advocating to ensure this protection remains in policy nationwide.

The comment period for this proposed change began July 24th, and will run through September 22nd, allowing exactly 60 days to submit comments from as many people as possible.

HUD is legally required to write a response to each unique comment before they can implement a Final Rule—meaning: the more comments they receive, the longer it will take them to put this dangerous and discriminatory rule into effect. Flooding the public comment portal is one way to encourage HUD to abandon this rule change. 

Anyone can submit a public comment directly to HUD on this rule through the live “comment portal” at
They provide talking points and question prompts to help support you in making a public comment.  All you have to do is share your thoughts on why nondiscrimination protections for trans people experiencing homelessness are important.  Please join us in ensuring that these critical protections remain in place!

An open letter to our donors and the community,


You may have read a recent news article about a security breach of a large-scale donor database called Blackbaud and how it affected several major nonprofit organizations in Vermont.  

I write today to assure you that the data of Groundworks Collaborative’s donors is safe and secure. We do not use Blackbaud.  However, the breach caused us to take a look at the security of our donors’ data in the systems we use.  

First, it feels important to mention that Groundworks Collaborative does not store credit card information on file and will not make credit card charges without a donor’s expressed consent. We treat our donor list with the utmost confidentiality and do not share or sell donor names or contact information.  

Groundworks uses a Salesforce database to track donations and donor relationships.  Salesforce reports that they utilize "some of the most advanced technology for Internet security available today," and that their platform uses "advanced technology to prevent interference or access from outside intruders."  

Additionally, NeonOne (the parent company for Rallybound, which Groundworks uses to process donations for peer-to-peer fundraising events and ticketing pages as well as our general donation page on our website) reports that data privacy is their “top priority as a company.”  All data in NeonOne/Rallybound is encrypted during transmission, using some of the strongest encryption available.  

We could not serve our community without the generous support of each and every one of our donors.  We are grateful for the support and all that donations make possible for our programs and the people we serve.  We’ve done our homework to ensure that your data as a donor of Groundworks Collaborative is protected.  If you have any questions whatsoever, please feel free to reach out to me.  

With our sincere thanks for your support of the important work we do,  



Libby Bennett

Director of Development & Communications   |   802-490-2951
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