On behalf of the Rotary Club of Colchester-Milton, I'd like to thank you for your generous donations to the 2018 Colchester Holiday Food Basket Project, a 40 plus-year-old community project which supported 92 families this year.
Some background about the project:
  • Families with children eligible for free lunch in the Colchester Schools are sent a letter each fall inviting them to sign up to receive a basket in December.  In 2017 that letter, addressed by the school district to protect the family’s privacy, went out to 304 eligible families and 141 signed up. I hesitate to imagine what we would have done if 200 or more had signed up for the project.
  • Family baskets consist of food staples and meat, age-appropriate books & toys, gift cards and more. The hope is to provide the ingredients for a traditional holiday meal and food for a week.  Box contents and sizes vary by family size and structure.
  • Fundraising for the basket project includes soliciting cash donations to cover those items we purchase, most at cost from Dick Mazza's General Store.  In addition, we received generous donations of eggs (Shadow Cross Farm), Potatoes (Sam Mazza's Farm Market and Salvation Farms), Milk (discounted from Monument Farms Dairy), and toys (WowToyz in Vergennes).
  • Established in the late 1970s by the Colchester Women's Club, the food basket project is now managed by the Colchester-Milton Rotary. As a Colchester community program, the Rotary is grateful for the support of donors, volunteers, the Colchester Fire Department, and local businesses whose generosity ensure we can support these families during the holiday season.
The budget for the Holiday Food Basket Project has been $10,000yearly for the past three years and we never know in advance how many families will sign up. Our goal is to build the reserve fund to a level that will match our average annual need.  Doing so will ensure we are able to meet future needs that are impossible to predict. Because we have discovered there are many in the community that are not aware of this project, we need to build greater awareness about the need and the benefits. An improved fundraising campaign can also help us reach even more folks in need, such as senior citizens or disabled people.
We established a Facebook Page (Colchester Holiday Baskets) where we promote the project, share history and videos, and thank our volunteers and supporting businesses.  I ask that you visit the page and “like" and "share" the page with others. Doing so will help make the Colchester Holiday Food Basket Project a much less “well kept” secret!   We look forward to working with you again in 2019 to reach our even more ambitious fundraising goal.
Ron Lewis, Chair
Colchester Holiday Food Basket Project, 2018