'What a small group of people can do'


BRATTLEBORO -- Even the parking lot of the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center evokes emotions.

People bustle about, carrying boxes and supplies. But while it appears chaotic it is clear every person is working intently.

With all the madness it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Luckily the first person to greet you upon entering is Ferris Cathey, the intake specialist, who offers a warm smile with instant guidance. He makes the transition from needing help to receiving it seem effortless.

For Ferris, this mentality comes from when he was homeless, and the first night he worked and slept in a shelter. He realized that people don't wind up homeless due to a lack of initiative, that there are countless factors as to why life doesn't go according to plan. What is important to Ferris is being there to ease people through the transition of asking for help to regaining control.

For a small team of five employees the Drop In Center services over 80 people a day from all walks of life and backgrounds. While most of their funding comes from charitable donations they hold two big fundraisers a year -- Project Feed the Thousands and Empty Bowls.

"Most people don't realize what a small group of people can do," said Ferris, who has worked as an intake specialist for four-and-a-half years. When he is not working he enjoys making model planes, and his stuffed animal collection.

Donations to The Drop In Center can be made online at their website www.feedthethousands.org/brattleboro-area-drop-center or by mail at Brattleboro Area Drop In Center PO Box 175 Brattleboro, VT, 05302.

Madeleine Bonneau graduated from University of Massachusetts in Amherst and can be reached at mbonneau32@gmail.com.


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