BRGNS to Reopen Thrift Stores
While Black River Good Neighbor Services has continued its food distribution throughout the pandemic, its thrift stores have been closed until now.
Effective July 7th for the thrift store and July 10th for the furniture store, the staff and volunteers will be ready to serve the public. At least for now the thrift store will only open Tuesday through Saturday. The food shelf will continue Monday through Friday.
There are several rules, however: Each shopper must wear a mask at all times while in the stores, and a limited number of people will be allowed in the stores so that everyone can maintain physical distancing. A sanitation station will greet customers with wipes and hand sanitizer; the staff requests that everyone use it. Also, a dressing room is no longer available in the thrift store. Depending on the number of customers waiting, the staff may impose a time limit on visitors.
All restrictions are intended to keep customers and staff safe and healthy. At this time, no donations of goods are accepted, although food may be donated at any time. Employees will accept donations of clothing and household goods on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays only, starting July 7th. The donation sheds are locked and not in use; anyone with a donation must first call 802-228-3663 and must give their donation to an employee. No exceptions will be made to this rule.
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No Spring Rummage Sale
Food Shelf Still Open
At its most recent meeting, the Black River Good Neighbor Services Board of Directors made the painful decision to cancel the Spring 2020 rummage sale and to concentrate on providing food and financial assistance to neighbors in need. “These sales have been a mainstay of our fundraising for over 12 years,” said Lou Krefski, Board President, “but we are in strange times that call for some otherwise unwanted choices.” He explained that even though the sale may have occurred after Vermont businesses reopen, the preparation work takes weeks before the sale. “We should have been working on the preparation already,” said Krefski. “Our volunteers put in an amazing number of hours to sort and price donations, and to arrange merchandise; but we simply can’t do that right now.”
Also, since there will be no rummage sale, and since the thrift store is closed, the organization is not accepting donations at this time.
A decision on the Fall sale will be made later this summer, and the Board hopes that it will happen as scheduled in September.
Meanwhile the food shelf is open for assistance Monday through Friday from 10:00 to 3:00 PM for anyone who needs help. Even though the program is running with normal hours, it is running with different procedures. Anyone needing food or financial assistance should first call 802-228-3663 to schedule an appointment with Krey or Audrey. Food boxes will be ready for pick up at an appointed time.
Food Shelf Offers More Than Food
The economic crisis gripping the nation and Vermont reaches into all of our pockets right now. “One of Black River Good Neighbors’ main services is assistance with rent, utilities and heat when a family faces an emergency,” said Audrey Bridge, Executive Director. “This is just such an emergency, and we are here to help anyone in Ludlow, Cavendish, Mount Holly, or Plymouth who can’t meet basic needs because of the crisis. We know that many people have lost jobs and may be facing a critical choice of paying the rent or the electric bill, each of which is important to pay. We can help when you face such choices. People are often too embarrassed to come to us for assistance, but that’s why we are here, and that’s what we do.”
While BRGNS is seen as the local food shelf distributing food to those in need, the other programs that they administer are often overlooked. The financial assistance program is one that has helped hundreds of local residents over the years.
For well over thirty years BRGNS has stepped up in times of crisis and helped local families. “We are not a government organization. Our funding comes from the people, and we are here to help our neighbors in turn,” said Bridge.
If you need food and cannot afford to buy it, or if you just can’t make the rent because you’ve lost your job, please call (802) 228-3663 and speak with Krey or Audrey to arrange for help.