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Building Community Means Being There For One Another

Our community is a special place. Time and time again, when we've reached out for assistance to meet the emergency needs of Windham and Windsor county residents--whether in response to the Great Recession, Tropical Storm Irene, local fires, the threat of homelessness, or home heating emergencies--the community has responded generously.

Just as importantly, that community support enables us to invest in people’s success in the long-term by: enriching the lives of young children and their families through early childhood education and family support; repairing and insulating homes to create safe, habitable, living conditions and save energy at the same time; and providing training and support to help people find jobs, further their education, or start their own business.

It's all about being there when our neighbors need us. For over 50 years, that's what SEVCA has strived to do, and it wouldn't have been possible without your help. In a typical year, we assist around 10,000 people who have insufficient income to meet their basic needs--some of them are facing an immediate crisis, while others are ready to take steps to build a better future for themselves and their families. With your support, we will be able to continue to be there for them....in the coming year, and as long as we're needed.

Were were there for Amanda Bragg's family, after they were suddenly made homeless by a fire last November. The following account of their experience shows how SEVCA, working in collaboration with other organizations and supporters, responds quickly and compassionately to community needs.


“All the love and support almost made us feel as if nothing bad has happened”

In the early morning hours of Saturday, November 7, 2015 a fire is started by an arsonist at an affordable housing complex on Valgar Street, Brattleboro. Someone raises the alarm, and panicked residents evacuate as the fire rages through their apartments. Miraculously, no one is killed or seriously injured. But seven families, almost all of whom have children, lose their homes and most of their possessions. Furniture, clothing, photos, toys, treasured family keepsakes….all gone in minutes.

Amanda Bragg’s family lost almost everything they owned that day. With nowhere else to go, Amanda, her husband, and their three young children (ages 3, 5, and 9), were forced to stay at a motel. SEVCA’s Family Services staff stepped in to help the Braggs and the other displaced families. We worked with each family individually to obtain alternative housing; assisted with moving costs; coordinated support from the Red Cross; purchased beds with a $5,000 contribution from the local emergency response coalition; provided clothing and furniture vouchers to be used at SEVCA’s Good Buy Thrift Stores; helped coordinate local donations to ensure they got to the families that needed them; and connected families to other available resources.

 A month later, the Braggs moved into a new apartment and were able to start their lives over again.

“SEVCA was there with us right from the start, and they kept in contact with us, making sure that we got everything we needed,” Amanda explains. “The hearts of the staff there are huge, they make you feel cared for every time they talk to you.”

Amanda says her family has begun making new, happy memories. “Even though we faced this horrible tragedy, all the love and support that was wrapped around our family has almost made us feel as if nothing bad has happened,” she said. “We needed that, and we are so grateful.”


About the Organization

Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA)

Since 1965, SEVCA has worked to address the hardships of poverty and create opportunities for sustainable self-sufficiency in WIndham and Windsor Counties. Our comprehensive array of services include crisis fuel assistance, homelessness prevention and rehousing assistance, weatherization, emergency home repair, early childhood education, job readiness training, financial fitness education, matched savings accounts, micro business counseling and support, and free tax assistance.