Two agencies merge to create Putney Community Cares

PUTNEY — For more than six months, members of Putney Cares and Putney Family Services boards have been meeting to explore merging the organizations to coordinate and increase services to Putney community members.

On June 11, a new combined board met for the first time and began to enact details of the merger.

According to a news release, the first decision was agreeing to the new name, Putney Community Cares, and the new logo, a combination of the Putney Family Services sunburst and the new name.

Board members of the new organization are Tiffin Mabry, president; Elizabeth Ehrenberg, vice president; Alan Blood, treasurer, and Maggie Cassidy, secretary. Also serving are Julie Forsythe, Ellen Strong, Dylan Devlin, and Stephen Green.

At its first meeting, the board approved a new mission statement and bylaws and set a timetable for launching the new organization.

Putney Community Cares' Mission Statement states that the organization's mission is “to foster the health, well-being, and independence of all members of our community, from newborns to our most senior, by strengthening family and community bonds. We serve individuals, families, and elders in our community. We provide outreach, direct support, programming, and connection to services. Putney Community Cares is dedicated to building and maintaining a vital, healthy Putney community.”

Abby Jacobson, program coordinator, and Kate Kelly, community advocate, will continue in their roles. Programs and office hours will remain as they are (Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 pm.) and phones and email will remain in place during the transition.

Jacobson can be reached at 802-387-5593 or [email protected], while Kelly can be reached at 802-387-2120 or [email protected].

The other big news is that the Putney Cares board recently completed a $10,000 campaign to refurbish and renovate the first floor of the Activities Barn, known as the Activities Room.

To celebrate the work, the barn is to be renamed in honor of Laura Heller, who was a major supporter of Putney Cares.

In a news release, Julie Forsythe, a Putney Cares board member who has worked on the campaign, said, “For 16 years, seniors have come to lift weights, dance, and paint, do Yoga and Tai Chi, share community lunches, and organize Meals on Wheels. Now it's time for a face-lift!”

Forsythe said work will begin soon to repaint the walls and ceiling, refinish the floor, and build storage units for yoga mats, a community lunch table, art supplies, and other items.

In addition to individual donations, the Thompson Trust, the Agnes Lindsay Trust, and the Crosby Gannett Foundation have made it possible to start the renovations during the final three weeks of August.

When the work is complete, the building will contain offices for Earthbridge Land Trust and for Putney Community Cares.

“We are delighted to be renaming the barn The Laura Heller Community Barn, to celebrate and acknowledge Laura's vision and dedication,” Forsythe said.

A dedication of the barn will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9, followed by an open house to tour the building and introduce Putney Community Cares to the town.

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