During the holiday season, people flood food kitchens and shelters, sharing their good will with the community. Those that have want to give to those that don't. But for the past two years, Peter "Fish" Case, operations manager at WKVT, has galvanized the community to remember that "People aren't hungry just around the holidays."
Since 2011, the Latchis Theatre has opened its doors to an unusual end-of-summer crowd -- food. Bag upon bags of food are brought in to fill the 750 seats of the grand theatre. It is a striking visual in support of a widespread community issue. All the food donations go to the Brattleboro Area Drop-in Center.
This year, the Load the Latchis event, hosted by WKVT and sponsored by a number of local organizations, will occur on Tuesday, July 30. From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., community members are invited to drive onto Flat Street where volunteers from WKVT and other local organizations will be waiting. The volunteers will spend the day running bags of groceries from people's trunks and backseats into the theatre. In 2011, 1,000 bags and $4,000 in flood relief donations were given during the event. Last year, the yield was more than 750 bags. The community has big shoes to fill if it wants to keep up its remarkable performance in the past two years. The Load the Latchis organizers are looking to collect non-perishable foods and personal hygiene items.
Staff at the Latchis are looking forward to watching their seats fill up.
"We love it. The volunteers are very exuberant. The people that stop to make donations are all in the spirit of it," said Gail Nunziata, Latchis General Manager. "What could be greater?" At the end of the day, the grocery bags at the Latchis pose for a picture before being moved to the Drop-in Center.
The Brattleboro Area Drop-In Center on South Main St. has served the needs of the less fortunate since 1988. In addition to being a local community shelf, the Drop-In Center provides a place for people to shower, do laundry, and find a compassionate ear. They also provide access services.
Lillian Podlog will be a junior at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., this fall. She is interning at the New England Center for Circus Arts.