Local News

Organizers issue appeal as food challenge heads into final week

RUTLAND — With an annual food challenge that collects thousands of items for Rutland

County residents in need now heading into its final days, organizers issued a final appeal for donations to help ensure its success.

“We are off to a good start, but with winter on its way and heating bills looming, we want to ensure the Rutland Community Cupboard is in good shape,” said GMP Vice President Steve Costello, who has helped organize the event for more than a decade. “We have already collected more than 15,000 items and $2,000, but the need remains high.”

The goal for the 2014 GMP Fill the Cupboard Challenge is to collect at least 20,000 items by Sept. 30.

Businesses, clubs, schools, sports teams, churches and other organizations can still register for the challenge, collect food donations and deliver them to the Rutland Community Cupboard by the end of the month. GMP will donate 25 cents to the Community Cupboard for every item collected, up to a total of $5,000.  The company will also donate $500 in the name of the group that collects the most food.

Participants should register for the challenge by calling Sue Bassett at the Cupboard at 747-6119 or Bonnie O’Rourke at GMP at 747-6883.

In 2013, the Rutland Community Cupboard distributed more than 250,000 items to area residents, serving nearly 540 families each month. “Sadly, the need remains high in 2014,” Manager Sue Bassett said.

Participants in the Challenge can solicit food donations from employees, customers, vendors or others, and are encouraged to conduct their own food drives as part of the Fill the Cupboard Challenge.

Donations so far have come from a wide range of groups, from Berkshire National Bank and Rutland Rotary South, which donated $1,000 each, to schools and clubs that have collected items for the drive. Nearly a third of the items donated so far came from The Vermont Country Store, which has been very supportive of the drive over the years.

Participants may deliver food to the Community Cupboard as often as they like, and should identify their organization as a participant in the Challenge when dropping off food items. Deliveries can be made to the Community Cupboard Monday,Wednesday or Friday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday between 4-6 p.m.

 Green Mountain Power, or GMP, is a local electricity utility in the state of Vermont focused on providing its customers with a balance of the most reliable, affordable, smart, and clean electricity, in an effort to be the best small utility in America.

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