Jodi Wheeler is no doubt a local hero around Lyndonville, Vermont. In 2005, Jodi founded the H.O.P.E. Foundation to help address the most basic needs of her neighbors: clothing and food. H.O.P.E. operates a thrift store to provide low cost clothing, provides emergency food and operates a weekly backpack program for children in need. Jodi wants to take a bite out of the staggering statistic that states one in five Vermont children are food insecure.
CLiF discovered the H.O.P.E. Foundation through a VPR feature on the backpack program it runs during the school year. We were very happy to find another wonderful organization who also works to make lives better for people in Vermont. We decided to partner with Jodi and help her get some new books to the kids she serves during the holidays, since studies show that children from low-income backgrounds are much less likely to have books in the home.
Jodi was elated to distribute four boxes of shiny new titles like Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, A Crooked Kind of Perfect and Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli to her customers. “Receiving books from CLIF was a big treat because we rarely get brand new items,” Jodi explained. “Almost all of them were [chosen by parents to be] used as Christmas presents.”
Jodi went on to describe a family who had just lost their home and came into the store for supplies. Jodi let the young boy of the family choose a book. The mother later told Jodi her son had asked for a flashlight the day after he was given a book from the Guardians of Ga’hoole series so he could read under the covers. Another satisfied CLiF customer!
CLiF works year-round to help children become lifelong readers and writers, but stories like this around the holidays always make us feel a bit more fuzzy. We hope you are spending this special time of year with the ones you love and doing what you can to help others in your community and beyond. From all of us here at the office, we wish you a season of generosity, happiness and good health.