Monday, November 7, 2011

We Visit The Kitchen Cupboard in Bennington

On Sunday, Nov. 6, five of use from the Friendship Center visited the Kitchen Cupboard food pantry in Bennington, Vt., during their open house. They were most generous in answering all of our questions and even giving us some coffee and rice pilaf to distribute at the Friendship Center.

The Kitchen Cupboard is run by Greater Bennington Interfaith Services Inc. The pantry opened in April and currently has more than 800 member households. It is located on the corner of Gage and Bradford Streets, near the Bennington Rec. Center.

Above: Al Nelson, Cynthia and Rich Davis and Tony Pisano listen to volunteer Donna Maroney tell us about The Kitchen Cupboard.

I'm hoping to put on the agenda for our Friday Nov. 18 Interfaith Action Initiative meeting a discussion of what we saw and heard on our visit. Our main topic on the 18th will be the Northern Berkshire Systems of Care Committee and the good work it is doing.

The outside of the facility, which has a first floor and a basement, allowing them to store a great deal of food. The building is a former tanning salon, and an out of town landlord rents it to them for a modest monthly amount.

Here, Donna shows the great storage area they have in a "room" which was once the sauna at the tanning salon. They had huge bags of dog food in there that they got from the Vermont Food Bank, which they break up into smaller amounts and give to their visitors. Our food bank doesn't offer this.

While we were there, people came in from the Bennington CROP Walk to tour the food pantry. We hope to revive the CROP Walk in Northern Berkshire next year.

Sue Andrews, executive director of Bennington Interfaith Community Services Inc., came in with the CROP Walkers and gave us plenty of tips. Sue writes grants for a living and has been instrumental in the success of the Food and Fuel Fund and the Bennington Free Clinic. She and Al Nelson remembered each other from the days when she was with the VNA in Northern Berkshire and he was with WMNB.

Before we left, Donna gave us a box of coffee and got Sue's permission to give us a box of rice pilaf, too! What great people! It was well worth the trip up the road with friends on a beautiful Sunday afternoon

God Bless You All,