Our Place Drop-in Center pulled the winners of its 50/50 raffle during the kick-off fiesta for Project Feed the Thousands, and the big $1,000 winner was Jill James of Bellows Falls.
Winners of $500 each were Laurie Rowell of Rockingham and Aidan Fletcher of Keene, with $250 each going to Arnice Long of Rockingham and Suzanne Chevrier of Chicago.
"We thank everyone for participating," said OP director Susan Shea. "We were able to raise $2,500 that will go directly to feeding many local families. This was a great way to jump start our biggest food drive of the year."
Project Feed will have bins in local schools, businesses and other public places to accept non-perishable donations of food and personal care items. Volunteers will also be on hand outside Shaw's supermarket in Walpole, N.H., on several days in November and December to ask shoppers to purchase a few extra items for the food shelf at Our Place.
The fiesta-themed kick-off featured a taco bar donated by Harvest Moon caterers of Saxtons River and was attended by about 75 community members.
Board member Dan Davis welcomed the crowd that included Sam Haskins from Sen. Bernie Sanders' office, Rockingham Selectboard member Ann DiBernardo, Rockingham Community Development Director Francis "Dutch" Walsh, Maurice Casey of the Vermont Foodbank Brattleboro office, and numerous volunteers and beneficiaries.
Director Shea also took the occasion to recognize the community's "hidden heroes," those volunteers who, upon their own initiative, organize food drives and events like spaghetti lunches to benefit Our Place.
Pete's Farmstand and Harlow's Sugar House also contributed fresh produce to the fiesta. Two large bins of food and $650 were donated at the event towards Project Feed the Thousands.