Winter's long hold on Vermont is nearing its end and Summer (Summer!) is just around the corner. I can see little tiny sprouts all around my yard, promising another season of outdoor beautification of my house. I am blessed by the natural beauty outside my windows and doorstep.
But unfortunately, there are many in my community who are not as lucky as I am. They do not have a house to go home to each night. They do not have access to 3 square meals a day. They are homeless.
Here in Burlington, we have a wonderful nonprofit organization that is doing something to help people who find themselves struggling. COTS (Committee On Temporary Shelter) began in 1982 with a group of community volunteers, and on Christmas Eve 1982, they opened the "COTS Waystation," which offered overnight shelter for adults without homes. Fast forward 29 years, and COTS has 6 shelters for individuals and families, as well as providing opportunities for education and personal growth, such as "work force training programs, budgeting and financial management workshops, parenting classes, computer training, creative writing groups, women's groups, individual tutoring, cooking and grocery shopping classes, and healthy food demonstrations."
The numbers are staggering -- in 2010, COTS served more than 1,400 people, including 208 families, through shelters and community programs. That's a lot of neighbors who are struggling.
One of COTS's primary fundraisers is the annual COTS walk, being held this Sunday, May 1. The 3 mile walk follows the typical path a homeless person may travel to receive shelter and services. On this one day each year, COTS opens the doors of its shelters and programs to the public so we can see how pledges are put to use. Seventh Generation is proud to once again be the lead sponsor for this event.
In addition to being the lead sponsor, I have rallied my colleagues to take the walk with me and/or make a donation to this worthy cause. I've recruited my husband and children to walk with me as well, because I believe they also need to see and understand just how fortunate we are and that there is a way we can help those who are struggling. Maybe I'll see you there!