BRATTLEBORO — Groundworks Collaborative has begun the second annual Give60 Challenge: a hybrid fundraiser for the organization's housing support and shelter programs.
The Give60 Challenge is a “choose-your-own-challenge” fundraiser, which this year includes the in-person Change-of-Pace Challenge event - a no-pressure, family-friendly walk, run, stroll, and roll event on Oct. 23 at the West River Trail.
Supporters of all ages and abilities can participate - in person or virtually - by devoting time and raising funds for Groundworks in a way that is meaningful to them and incorporates the number 60.
“Some people will probably ask, 'Why 60?'” said Executive Director Josh Davis. “We're working with this idea that dignity has an address. It's 60 South Main St., the home of our community's Drop-In Center-the entry point for those seeking help with shelter, housing support, and emergency food for decades.”
Scores of neighbors in need use 60 South Main St. as their mailing address for lack of permanent housing and will continue to do so in the new building, he said.
The Give60 fundraiser
Participants choosing the Change-of-Pace Challenge can start their walk at the parking lot behind the Marina Restaurant (at the head of the West River Trail), between 10 a.m. and noon, on Oct. 23.
Virtual participants determine whether to create an individual challenge or form a team, then choose a goal to complete before Thanksgiving (Nov. 25). The organization's website (GroundworksVT.org/events) has more information, registration links, and challenge ideas.
“Last year's participant challenges included 60 minutes or 60 miles of hiking or biking, 60 minutes of yoga and/or meditation-and we had a team that sent 60 postcards to friends and family during quarantine,” Libby Bennett, Groundworks' director of development and communications, said in a news release.
She said that number of individuals and teams “committed to 60 days of an activity or practice, including completing daily 60-second planks. Another team taught 60-minute online yoga, pilates, and mindfulness classes.”
“There's just about no limit to what interested participants could do - and every action helps further our mission to provide emergency shelter and supportive housing services,” Bennett said.
Groundworks Collaborative continues to provide supportive services to more than 130 individuals in more than 100 households who are sheltering in local motels through Vermont's General Assistance temporary housing program.
“There is a severe shortage of housing, coupled with our shelters being full in the midst of an ongoing pandemic,” said Groundworks' Executive Director Josh Davis. “There is just no way we can accommodate more people leaving the motels at this time.”
“We need to work together with partners statewide to come up with a better solution before the temperatures get colder,” Davis said.
New affordable housing, prioritized with $190 million in fiscal year 2022 state budget, will be a lengthy wait in Windham County, as projects often take years to plan, fund, and build before leases can be signed.
Old building to come down
The original cape building on South Main Street is in disrepair and is slated to be removed.
The historic three-sided fireplace will remain, and a new structure will be built on the same footprint to house Groundworks' Representative Payee program as well as the Case Management and Healthworks teams.
“The history at 60 South Main is significant to us, and we want to commemorate what this address has meant for our community for over 30 years,” Davis said.