Breakfast with Santa to benefit Putney charities

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PUTNEY — Breakfast with Santa will take place on Sunday, Dec. 10, from 9 to 11 a.m. at Next Stage Arts Project, 15 Kimball Hill. The event is a fundraiser for the Putney Foodshelf and Putney Family Services.

"The Putney Foodshelf provides a reliable safety net for our community members in need," said Hannah Pick, part-time Putney Foodshelf coordinator. "We are open twice a week at our location in the Putney Community Center (side ramp entrance): Tuesday evenings from 6 to 7 p.m. and Saturday mornings from 9 to 10 a.m. We hold our open hours even during holidays and snowstorms. We never close."

Jim Heal, former pharmacist and proprietor of the Putney General Store who died on Dec. 30, 2016, re-started the breakfast, formerly hosted by the Putney Inn, as a Putney Foodshelf fundraiser in 2013, both to support the Putney Foodshelf and to give a celebration to the community he loved. After Heal was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer in August 2016, Putney resident Steve Haisley took over the planning of the event that December to honor Heal, who "did this for the kids," Haisley said. The breakfast continues to honor Heal's memory and is now called "Jim Heal's Breakfast with Santa."

The menu includes pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausages, home fries, orange juice, milk, coffee, and a gluten-free option for those with gluten sensitivity. Kerri Harlow, chef at Putney Central School and a Putney Family Services board member, will cook. Suggested donation is $5 per person, $20 per household. Santa will arrive around 9 a.m.

"We appreciate the community's support," Pick said. "We see an increase in the number of people coming to the Foodshelf this time of year. It takes an on-going effort to keep our shelves full."

Sponsors of the event include The Gleanery, Hidden Springs Maple, Next Stage Arts Project, Putney Food Co-op, Putney General Store, and Thomas Dairy.

In addition to open hours, Putney Foodshelf — 802-387-8551 or putneyfoodshelf@gmail.com — also runs the Family Food Bag program, which serves five families (approximately 25 individuals) at Putney Central School. These families receive a bag of food on Fridays to assure they have adequate nutrition over the weekend. This program operates year-round.

A 501(c)(3) organization, the Putney Foodshelf relies on volunteers and donations to fulfill its mission.

Putney Family Services, the other organization collaborating on the breakfast, is located on the second floor of 54 Kimball Hill in Putney — 802-387-2120 or putneyfamilyservices.net. The organization provides various services to community residents, including help with basics (food, shelter, clothing, heating assistance); help navigating the health care system; and, working with Early Education Services, "Welcome, Baby" gift bags to families of newborns. They can also make referrals to other service providers in the area.

Liz Ehrenberg, president of the Putney Family Services board of directors, and owner/manager of The Gleanery, said she was happy to collaborate on the breakfast.

"From its inception, Putney Family Services has worked with kids and families," she said, "so we like participating in an event that connects us directly with kids and families."

          




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