Montpelier has a farmer’s market every Saturday morning from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM during the growing season from late Spring until early Fall. It is a festive atmosphere with both regional farmers offering produce and local artisans offering their crafts. I was recently approached by Joe Keane, one of the vendors there. Joe sells Green Mountain coffee, both bagged and fresh-brewed, with the proceeds going to the soup kitchens of Montpelier.
In Montpelier, there are five different churches who sponsor soup kitchens. These churches do not receive any Federal or State money for doing this. They do receive donations from individuals and organizations, when available, but take it upon themselves to render this service to the community. On Monday, it’s the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, on Tuesday, the Bethany United Church of Christ, on Wednesday, the Christ Episcopal Church, on Thursday, the Trinity United Methodist Church, and on Friday, Saint Augustine’s Catholic Church. All of these churches are located within a few blocks of one another in the downtown area of Montpelier. Thus, there is a free lunch available to the needy each day of the week, from Monday to Friday. Having been unemployed and still being quite poor, I have eaten regularly at these soup kitchens, and usually it’s the first food of the day for me, as well as for many others.
Therefore, when Joe approached me and asked if I would like to help him, I readily agreed. I realized that here was a chance to pay back some of the kindness that had been shown to me by these various churches. And so, on Saturday, August 22, I had my first experience as a vendor in the Montpelier Farmer’s Market, assisting Joe with the sale of the bagged coffee. It was a wonderful experience. Early on, I made a sign stating that the proceeds we derived went to support the soup kitchens. This had a positive effect across the morning as several people noted it and bought coffee, some of them refusing the change they were due back, telling us to keep it, it being for a good cause. People do want to help if they are able.
The season is slowing down though, that was evident. I think it’s because many schools, elementary schools, high schools, and colleges, now start the last week of August. Labor Day weekend no longer marks the end of summer for many families with children. Even so, we sold just about all the product that we had, so it was a very good day. Joe gave me money for lunch, which I spent on my favorite lunch vendor there, a Pakistani family who vends hot food. Chicken curry, rice and hot sauce – Yum!