BURLINGTON, Vt. (WVNY) – Whether it’s a Thanksgiving turkey or a warm place to go, the Queen City is gearing up for the holidays by giving back. The project began in January as a warming center for people experiencing homelessness, but a lack of funds shut it down in May. Now, with funding from the City of Burlington, the program is back and offering more services.
After a six-month hiatus, the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity’s Community Resource Center reopened Thursday. Timothy McQueen, who has lived in Burlington since the 1990s, considers himself lucky for the resource center’s support. He stopped by Thursday to pick up a winter coat.
“I thank God for these people because they really reach out. Whether you’re intoxicated or whatever they try to help you and put you in the right direction, that’s why I’m here today. To try and find a better way,” said McQueen.
CVEOE runs the center inside the VFW Post 782 in downtown Burlington. Visitors can stop by between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. (It will be closed on Thanksgiving.) Visitors can help themselves to toiletries, winter clothes, hot meals, and life-saving medications, such as Narcan. They also have access to computers and housing resources.
“It’s really a place for people to come, particularly those experiencing homelessness or are a very marginally housed, a place for them to come and receive a host of different services,” said CVOEO Director Paul Dragon.
Meanwhile, Feeding Chittenden is helping out by offering free turkeys, pies and all kinds of Thanksgiving sides. Anna McMahon, Feeding Chittenden’s communications manager, said turkeys will be available for pickup from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Wednesday.
“We are the largest service emergency food provider in Vermont,” she said. “We’re always part of CVOEO, and if we can provide more meals to people during the cold months, we absolutely want to do that.”