The Rutland United Methodist Church located at 60 Strongs Avenue in Rutland, Vermont moved our congregation from our church building into a former roofing, siding and insulation company in downtown Rutland in January 2018. This space is rented by the Rutland United Methodist Church from a local businessman. The building is being used for our weekly worship and other church activities as well as serving as a space to provide a safe and welcoming environment for people experiencing homelessness, hunger, and economic insecurity, Mondays through Thursdays.
In March 2018 the idea of “The Comfort Zone” was born. It began to fill a need for those who are homeless, have food insecurity and/or are living in poverty within the Rutland area. Monday through Thursday a group of volunteers come together at 7:30am to put together a nutritious breakfast to give out to those in need. Many of our clients come to us from the hotels/motels in the Rutland area as well as other families or individuals who are living in poverty or are homeless. We serve a hot breakfast from 9:00-10:00am. Most of our clients come from within Rutland City but some have come from Rutland Town, Center Rutland, Mendon, Killington, West Rutland and Poultney. Some of our clients are living out in the elements, even during the winter months. Prior to the pandemic these meals were served indoors and we were serving 15-20 individuals a day. Serving indoors gave us an opportunity to have a more in depth conversation with individuals and offer a variety of support. When the pandemic began, we started providing a take-out breakfast 4 mornings a week and a take-out dinner once a month. The breakfast numbers continued to rise. During the pandemic and currently we are the only place in Rutland providing a free hot breakfast. We were serving 45-60 a day with an average of 57 during most of 2021. Toward the end of 2021 we were seeing an average of 90-100 a day. This continued during 2022. Our average number currently is 150 Breakfasts a day.
When the state began the program for Everyone Eats, we started distributing the meals during our breakfast time as a take-out lunch/dinner for our clients to take with them. Everyone Eats was not available on Monday mornings so we cook a lunch/dinner for them to take with them on Monday mornings. Because we provided the Monday lunch/dinner we were able to offer a lunch/dinner meal to our clients each day when we served breakfast. Our daily average for lunches/dinners in January 2022 was 43. As of December 2022 our number is 125 individuals per day.
In November 2021 the Rutland United Methodist Church membership voted to have Companions In Wholeness under their umbrella as a separate entity. In April 2022 Companions In Wholeness was register with the Vermont Secretary of State. Companions In Wholeness is "The Rutland United Methodist Church doing business as Companions In Wholeness".
The Board of Directors
Jennifer Yakunovich -- Chairperson and member of Rutland United Methodist Church
Lori McVeigh -- Treasurer and member of Rutland United Methodist Church
Linda Allen -- Outreach Coordinator for the Rutland United Methodist Church
Directors at Large
Marsha Johnson - Rutland United Methodist Church
Diane Sharrow - Rutland United Methodist Church
Sarah Pulcer - Grace Congregational Church
Reverand Patty Stratton - First Baptist Church
Reverand John Hardman-Zimmerman - Rutland United Methodist Church
Reverand Sue Hardman-Zimmerman - Rutland United Methodist Church
Reverand John Weatherhogg - Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Grace Davey - Everyone Eats Program
Kim Williams - Vermont Foodbank
Ellen Wakker - Rutland United Methodist Church
Linda Mackin - Rutland United Methodist Church
Deb Hermann - Church of the Wildwood
Kathy Willis - Grace Congregational Church
Sarah Coulter Danner - Trinity Episcopal Church
The Comfort Zone
The Comfort Zone encompasses the hot breakfast Monday-Thursday and a small pantry, which is accessed daily from by our guests.
Breaking Bread are the lunches/dinners served as take out during the breakfast time.
Faith on Foot
Faith On Foot is volunteers walking throughout Rutland City once a week providing hygiene kits, meals ready to eat, water, sharing with those in need the resources available to them as well as a small used clothing “store” onsite with free clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, coats, shoes, socks, etc.