Good neighbors: Now more than ever

Audrey Bridge was spending a busy day last Tuesday coordinating volunteers while answering thrift shop customer questions at Black River Good Neighbors Services in downtown Ludlow. She and her crew are gearing up for a big move to the tank garage at the Ludlow armory site-now under renovation. Relocating will enable BRGNS to provide more food for persons in need while expanding its nifty thrift shop.

"It's a challenge," Bridge said, "as you can see we're tight for space here. But that will change with our new location. We'll be gaining 1,000 square feet in the new locale."

Bridge oversees the non-profit agency that provides confidential, temporary food, clothing and financial assistance to those in need to help them return to self-sufficiency. The agency serves Ludlow, Cavendish, Proctorsville, Mt. Holly and Plymouth.

Originally housed in the Ludlow United Church, BRGNS moved to its current location when the building was donated to the agency by Neil Hammond in 1995.

"But we've outgrown this space in 15 years," she said.

According to Bridge, the food shop and thrift shop are primary operations.

"But we also provide rent, heat and other assistance for those who meet our guidelines," she added.

In these difficult economic times, more and more Vermonters are meeting those guidelines, unfortunately.

Bridge said members of the board of directors voted to hold its first fundraising dinner at Bella Luna on Saturday, Oct. 23. Ticket prices, including a full buffet dinner, will be $50 per person. A silent auction offering many exciting items to bid on will be held throughout the evening.

BRGNS Board President Jim Fuller said, "As a 501-c3 non-profit organization, which takes no government funding, we need to explore new ways to raise money. Money raised will go to cover the ever increasing demands for food, rent, and utility assistance which we provide to our neighbors in need. It will also help with our Capital Campaign for moving into the armory tank barn."

Look for more details in the Outlook on where tickets for the dinner can be purchased and on silent auction items.

Bridge asked Outlook readers to "please be sure to save the date, Oct. 23, and spread the word. t really will be a special event that will help so many neighbors."

Check It Out: Black River Good Neighbors Food Shelf and Thrift Store is located at 105 Main St. in Ludlow and is open from 10 a.m .until 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 802-228-3663.

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