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Food pantry in a pickle with concert delayed

Drop In Center shelves ‘very, very bare’ this time of year, director says

BRATTLEBORO—The fourth annual Brattstock music festival, which was to have taken place on Aug. 13, has been rescheduled for the fall. In the meantime, a new event has been organized to benefit the Brattleboro Area Drop-in Center.

According to Julian McBrowne, one of the event’s organizers,, the free concert on the Common will now take place Oct. 8, to allow more time to secure a bigger lineup of local musicians.

“Two of the bands we planned to have perform pulled out at the last minute because of schedule conflicts, which happens sometimes with benefit events,” McBrowne said. “Rather than scrap the entire event, our media sponsor, WTSA, encouraged us to pick a new date, which we did.”

The event has served as the summer food drive and fundraiser for the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center.

Postponing the concert has put the center’s food shelf in a bind.

“It means that we will continue to struggle to raise food and money without the infusion of the Brattstock event for another few weeks,” said Drop In Center Executive Director Melinda Bussino.

Bussino said the food shelf at the Drop In Center “is very, very bare” this time of year.

“Some days, all we have to give folks is bread and gleaned vegetables from local farms,” Bussino said. “ We need food year-round, but this time of year is always the toughest for us.”

Fortunately for the Drop In Center, a major food drive is scheduled for the end of the month. Bussino said that WKVT Radio is sponsoring “Load the Latchis,” on Wednesday, Aug. 31.

The goal is to fill all 750 seats in the main theater at the Latchis with a bag of groceries. Donors can drop off food between the hours of 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. that day at a designated “drop zone” on Flat Street.

Bussino said the center is especially looking for peanut butter, tuna, pasta and pasta sauce, baby food, cereals, juices, canned meats and vegetables, soup, baby formula, and any other nonperishable food item.

The food donations from the Load the Latchis event will go quickly, Bussino said, and the Drop In Center is already looking ahead to the holiday season.

“At this point, we will not be able to do turkeys for Thanksgiving unless we find about $10,000 for food,” she said. “The center has already financed the food shelf $32,000 since January, putting the rest of our programs in serious jeopardy.”

People can bring cash donations by stopping by the center at 60 South Main St., or mailing a check to P.O. Box 175, Brattleboro, VT 05302.

McBrowne is hopeful the rescheduled Brattstock will be a success.

“A Columbus Day weekend Brattstock should be a great food and fundraiser for the Drop-in Center, and a great day of local music,” he said. “Both are good things for our dual purpose event. Our goal is to fill the shelves at the Drop in Center, while demonstrating that Brattleboro is a musical hub in the region.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #115 (Wednesday, August 24, 2011).

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