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The Commons

Co-op celebrates MLK Day with new community service initiative

Originally published in The Commons issue #390 (Wednesday, January 11, 2017). This story appeared on page C1.

BRATTLEBORO—The Brattleboro Food Co-op staff and board of directors recently announced they will be honoring Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 16, with numerous social justice and activist organizations featured in the store throughout the day.

There also will be a free screening of the movie “13th” in the evening, live music, and, of course, food.

The idea for the event grew out of the Co-op board of directors’ newly formed Engagement Committee, as well as feedback from staff.

Ruth Garbus, employee and board member, said in a news release, “We gotta get together! The Co-op is here to stand up for what’s right, ready and willing to offer support and solace for those who need it. We want to make that absolutely clear to this community, and particularly those who are actively working for justice.”

The daylong event is in part a celebration of community service, and a way for the Co-op to announce an increase of support for local volunteering.

As of this month, Co-op shareholders will be able to use community volunteer time to get a discount on their purchases for up to two months per year. By inviting these organizations, the Co-op says it hopes to encourage shoppers to lend a helping hand, and seeks to exemplify the empowering, inclusive nature of the cooperative model.

“Especially at this moment, co-ops offer a powerful alternative to the traditional business model,” Marketing and Community Relations Manager Jon Megas-Russell said in the news release. “The values and principles that form the foundation of cooperative businesses include democracy, social responsibility, and solidarity. This stuff is in our bedrock, and it’s time to put these first and foremost now when our community needs us most.”

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