“Good Buy” Thrift Store Receives Boost from Town

A Bigger and Better WRJ Recycling Center Thrift Store Now Offering Furniture!

The Town of Hartford has graciously agreed to expand the space available to SEVCA’s “Good Buy” Thrift Store at the town’s Transfer Station and Recycling Center on a six-month trial basis. This will enable the store to offer a much bigger and better selection of furniture, clothing, and household goods; keep usable items out of the landfill and get them into the hands of residents who need them; and enhance its ability to continue to operate at that site.

Declining revenues in some locations had led SEVCA to consider various options to ensure the sustainability of its Thrift Store operations, including the possible closing of the Recycling Center site altogether. But when Town Manager Hunter Rieseberg learned the store might close, he acted quickly to get approval from the Select Board for the store to use the additional 1,000 square foot space, formerly serving as the recycling education center, on a six-month trial basis.

“This is a really exciting development,” said Tonia White, Director of SEVCA’s Thrift Stores and Textile Recycling program. “This could be just what we need to boost revenue and keep our store open at the Recycling Center location. With the additional space, we can offer a lot more variety and a higher volume of high quality used furniture and clothing, and that will attract a lot more shoppers. We also look forward to being able to take a lot more donations than we currently have the capacity to accept.” 

The expanded space, which SEVCA has named the “Furniture Annex,” opened for business on August 20. SEVCA will assess the impact of the expanded space over the next six months and will work with the Town Manager to determine what the future will hold for the Recycling Center store.

The “Good Buy” Thrift Stores are part of SEVCA’s multi-pronged strategy to combat poverty in Southeastern Vermont. Last year, SEVCA served over 13,000 people in Windham and Windsor counties through a range of programs such as crisis fuel assistance, homelessness prevention, Weatherization, home repair, business start-up and support, job readiness and skills training, Financial Fitness, asset building, Head Start, Food Stamp outreach, access to affordable health care, budgeting/savings, and information & referral, as well as the thrift stores. Not only do the stores offer products that meet people’s basic needs at very low prices on a daily basis, they often provide those items free of charge to households experiencing especially difficult crises. In addition to assisting its own clients, SEVCA has a strong partnership with The Upper Valley Haven, providing free clothing and household goods to help the homeless families they serve to get back on their feet.

SEVCA Announces Free Fall “Financial Fitness” Classes

SEVCA invites Windham County residents to register for its upcoming “Financial Fitness” class, to be held at Marlboro College in Brattleboro starting September 16. This seven-part workshop series will help participants improve their relationship with money, develop strong financial habits, and take steps towards prosperity. Topics covered include; saving, spending, credit, paying for college, purchasing a home, purchasing a car, insurance, and retirement. The instructor will review credit reports and provide recommendations to take steps to build healthy credit or resolve credit issues.

The class is free and open to the public.  It will begin on Wednesday, September 16 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and continue each Wednesday through October 28. The workshops will be held at Marlboro College Graduate School, 28 Vernon Street, Brattleboro, VT.  Pre-registration is required.  Please call to register at 802-722-4575, ext. 151, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


SEVCA Golf Tournament Raises Over $11,000 for Anti-Poverty Programs

SEVCA's Sponsors and Participants "Chip Away at Poverty"

It was a rainy start to what turned out to be a beautiful day for a golf tournament. On June 26th, Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA) held its 14th Annual “Chipping Away at Poverty” Benefit Golf Tournament at the Brattleboro Country Club. The four Tournament Co-Sponsors were Black River Produce, Mutual of America, Cigna Healthcare, and Mountain View Apartments. Over $11,000 was raised to support SEVCA’s essential anti-poverty programs serving low income individuals and families in Windham and Windsor counties. Check out our Facebook page for highlights of the day.

Weatherization and Crisis Fuel Program vendors, regional businesses, local service providers, and other SEVCA friends and supporters sponsored and/or engaged in friendly competition to raise money for the agency, many returning from previous years. A Hole-In-One Contest sponsored by Brattleboro Ford-Subaru gave participants the chance to win a new Ford Edge and other valuable prizes. One player actually hit the pole a foot above the hole, but unfortunately, the ball didn’t go in. There was also a Putting Contest for a possible $5,000 cash prize. Although no one sank the 80-foot putt for the grand prize this year, Jim Gould won a smaller cash prize for getting closest to the cup. Players enjoyed participating in a 50/50 raffle and a ‘Vegas Hole’ competition in addition to the team and individual golfing competitions.

Tournament winners were: 1st Place Team – Raven Bay Associates; 2nd Place – Mutual of America; 3rd Place – Claypoint Associates; Men’s Closest to the Pin – Chad Illingsworth; Women’s Closest to the Pin: Leslie Hoyt; Women’s Longest Drive – Thalia Holmes; and Men’s Longest Drive – Jake Obar. The winner of the Vegas Hole Contest was Sean Bradley, who donated his winnings to SEVCA, and winner of the 50/50 Raffle was Jessica Leventry, who also donated a portion of her winnings back to SEVCA.

In addition to the co-sponsors listed above, SEVCA wishes to thank the following businesses, organizations and individuals for their sponsorships and other support: ‘Double Eagle’ Level Sponsor –Kinney-Pike Insurance; Putting Contest Sponsor: Mountain View Apartments; Golfer Gift Bag Sponsor: Mutual of America; Hole-in-One Sponsor – Brattleboro Ford-Subaru; Breakfast and Luncheon Sponsor—IPG Employee Benefits Specialists; Hole Sponsors– Allen Brothers Oil, Burtco, Inc., Clark’s Quality Foods, Durand Toyota Ford, GreenFiber, G.S. Precision Inc., Harriman’s Heating, Leone, McDonnell & Roberts P.A., Northeast Delta Dental, Simon Operation Services, and WW Building Supply; General Supporters –Don’s Heating LLC, Magee Office Products, Sam Streeter LLC, Westminster Auto Service, Farnum Insulators, PayData, Hugh Haggerty, Eugene Guy. In-Kind Contributors –Bellows Falls Country Club, Brattleboro Country Club, Hooper Golf Club, Pine Grove Springs Country Club, Tater Hill Golf Club, Cannon Solutions America, Putney Food Co-op, Leone, McDonnell & Roberts, P.A., Sunset Tool Inc., Vermont Country Deli, United Natural Foods, Walmart. Special thanks go to Brattleboro Country Club and their staff for their assistance and generosity in hosting our tournament this year.

Rent-to-Own Centers Face Legislative Regulation to Protect Consumers

In the News….

Imagine paying an interest rate of 300% or higher on your bed, kitchen table, or TV. Sounds far-fetched, but that is exactly the kind of deal on offer at Rent-to-Own businesses. Due to a loophole in current law, their customers pay a huge premium on large ticket items that might not even be new, as many of the items rented have been repossessed from previous customers. Consumers aren’t shown the actual ultimate cost of the rent-to-own deal they are agreeing to, and fall prey to deceptive marketing practices. Most rent-to-own clientele are people with lower incomes—an estimated 72% of them earn less than $36,000/year. These consumers often don’t have the money to purchase products outright, and may not have good credit, so they have little option but to turn to rent-to-own dealers. And because of the high installment payments and quick repossessions if they fall behind, only about 25% of these customers ever end up actually owning the items they paid such an outrageously high price for.

SEVCA’s staff have seen the impact of rent-to-own deals on countless clients over the years. High installment payments are often a factor in creating a financial crisis for the household that impacts their ability to meet their basic food, housing, and fuel expenses. So SEVCA has joined with other advocates in support of bi-partisan legislation recently introduced in the state Senate to crack down on the industry’s deceptive and exploitative practices. The legislation would limit the effective interest rate charged on these installment purchases and require certain disclosures and consumer protections that it is hoped would make the industry operate on a much fairer, above-board basis. Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, of which SEVCA is a member, is just one of the many organizations that have endorsed the legislation. (Click HERE to read their statement.)

See the following news article for more information, or call Family Services Director Pat Burke at (802) 722-4575 with questions.

Posted March, 2015

It’s Tax Season! SEVCA Can Help

File Your Taxes for FREE through SEVCA’s VITA Program.

The IRS has estimated that 4 million U.S. residents each year fail to claim tax credits they qualify for, forfeiting nearly $3 billion in tax credits and refunds. Tax benefits like the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) help eligible working families afford better housing, dependable transportation,and quality child care, and pursue further education and training, thus contributing to their long-term financial stability. In addition, they benefit the local economy.

Help SEVCA spread the word about the free tax preparation services we will provide to qualified low- and moderate-income households through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program between February 2 and April 13. Call SEVCA if you or someone you know:

  •  Is unsure of the tax implications of the Affordable Care Act and needs a little extra help to make sure their return is accurate this year
  • Wants to make sure to claim all tax credits they are eligible for, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit
  • Wants to save the $100-$300 they would usually pay a tax preparer to file their taxes

In 2015, SEVCA’s VITA program assisted over 300 tax filers, who received federal and state refunds amounting to over $400,000, including Earned Income Credits worth more than $215,000. This year, we have 20 experienced volunteer tax preparers, who have undergone extensive training in current tax regulations, including those related to the Affordable Care Act. Each return will be reviewed for accuracy by a certified volunteer. Free tax assistance is available by appointment only at the following locations:

  • SEVCA’s main office in Westminster on Thursdays (daytime appointments)
  • St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in White River Junction on Tuesdays (day and early evening appointments available)
  • Windsor Resource Connection Center (Windsor) on alternate Wednesdays

SEVCA is proud to partner again this year with Granite United Way to offer the VITA program to residents in the Upper Valley (White River Junction and Windsor). This year, you can schedule your own appointment at these sites by using the online registration process HERE. After January 19, you can also make an appointment by phone at these locations by calling 866-444-4211. Appointments can be scheduled at the Westminster location by phone only; please call 800-464-9951, beginning immediately.

“Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon, and left one unexpended effort that might have saved the world. ”

Jane Addams (U.S. social worker, 1860-1935)