5000 years ago, before the pyramids of Egypt were constructed, one thousand years before Stonehenge was built, neolithic peoples in what is today known as Ireland were very in tune with the yearly cycle of the sun. The rhythm of the sky played so significant a role that they constructed massive chambers to align with the Winter Solstice. The 97 largest kerbstones at Newgrange are beautifully and mysteriously carved, weigh up to one ton each and were quarried 12 miles away from the site. It is estimated that the structure contains 200,000 tons of stone, and it is 279 feet in diameter, 42 feet high, and covers an acre of land. Most remarkably, it was built by regular people in a farming community. On the Winter Solstice, a beam of light shines 20 yards straight down an underground passageway and fully illuminates an intricately carved inner chamber.
Thank you for making the holidays special for children and families experiencing homelessness. Your generosity makes a huge difference for people in shelters.
According to Executive Director Jonathan Farrell, “the world has changed drastically since COTS was founded 40 years ago, and we have evolved as an organization to meet growing needs in our community. We have grown from a committee tasked with creating a temporary shelter to keep people from freezing at night to an award-winning non-profit organization aimed at addressing systems contributing to homelessness. To better reflect who we are today, COTS has undergone a year-long process to explore our identity and brand.”
The COTS Phonathon is our oldest and one of our most important fundraisers. Each year, the week after Thanksgiving, staff and volunteers call past COTS supporters and ask them to consider a gift to COTS again this year. Your volunteer work, donations, and support for the Phonathon are vital to the services COTS provides.
Our coldest temperature last winter was -14°F. People experiencing homelessness walk an average of 10 miles per day, no matter the weather. Increased risks of physical injury, poor hygiene, and inadequate footwear have been cited as contributing factors to the development of foot problems. For the winter months, we partner with Gadue’s Dry Cleaning to provide people with warm coats, and this October we are tackling the next need – winter boots.
This year, the second year running, with your help we were able to provide 355 students with new backpacks and school supplies in a fun environment. Each student received a great abundance of supplies and a backpack to feel set for the school year. Similarly, to last year we had a bouncy house, face painting, lunch, hygiene items, outfits, and haircutters. This year we added ice cream, homemade cookies and lemonade provided by Emily Eden, a Storytime with 2 free books per child through CLiF, and other community partners tabling with information.
Thank you to our registrants, donors, sponsors, volunteers, and staff for making this possible. We had an amazing turnout for this year's event including 473 COTS Walk registrants, 97 volunteers, and over 1,500 Walkers. With your support, we raised an incredible $240,829.75. COTS Walk donations are a main source of funding for our shelters, programs, and services.
COTS is working to be a model of diversity, equity, and inclusion to reflect the many faces, cultures and walks of life present in our community. COTS partnered with nuwave, a local firm that understands the specific challenges facing Vermont and Burlington, and also bring a robust collection of skills to the table.
Since COTS focuses on housing, we wanted to share a few of the many Black trailblazers and leaders in the housing world. We honor the innovation, ingenuity, and resilience that Black people have contributed to our shared national culture and experience.
COTS has been busy this holiday season! Here is a recap of some of the happenings at COTS this winter.
COTS and Evernorth partner to create 16 new units of deeply affordable housing for families experiencing homelessness
Your kindness truly brightens the holidays for children and families who are facing homelessness. Your generosity is making a significant impact on those staying in shelters.
COTS annual candlelight vigil will be taking place Wednesday, December 21 at 5:30 PM in front of Burlington City Hall.
The COTS Phonathon is our oldest and one of our most important fundraisers. Each year, the week after Thanksgiving, staff and volunteers call past COTS supporters and ask them to consider a gift to COTS again this year.
Today, the Committee on Temporary Shelter announced the appointment of Jonathan Farrell as the organization’s next Executive Director, effective November 17th.
For some people, including people experiencing homelessness, autumn is a reminder that cold weather is approaching- and that shelter, a warm coat, and winter boots are important for survival. COTS’ mission is to help people find safe and secure housing.
This year, COTS will be holding our first ever “Back to School Bonanza” to get Vermont students in need ready for the school year. Students can prepare for back-to-school season in all the ways necessary; school supplies, backpacks, back-to-school haircuts, first-day-of-school outfits, and more.
COTS has officially kicked off the seventh annual Back to School Drive. The Drive kicked off with the Lake Monsters game on July 1st, where COTS Development & Communications director Rebekah Mott and her kiddo threw the opening pitch.
June marks the launch of COTS’ first summer postcard campaign to bring awareness around homelessness and COTS services. We have partnered with Erika Senft Miller who created the art on each postcard, with the series of artworks entitled “In Times Like These.”
The 33rd Annual COTS Walk took place on Sunday, May 1st as the first in-person Walk since 2019 – and it was a huge success!
Register today for the 33rd annual COTS Walk, presented by Rice Lumber. The COTS Walk is in person this year, and is the nonprofit’s largest annual event and a critical fundraiser to provide shelter, services, and housing to people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in Vermont.
Today, the inimitable Rita Markley formally announced her upcoming retirement as Executive Director of the Committee on Temporary Shelter. Markley will step down on September 30, 2022, after 30 years of service to the non-profit organization.
We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated this holiday season. Whether that be toys and holiday gifts for the families that we serve, high-need items from our wish list, or monetary donations, we appreciate you immensely.
COTS annual candlelight vigil will be taking place Tuesday, December 21 at 5:30 PM in front of Burlington City Hall.
The 14th annual Dee PT COTS Diaper Drive is upon us! This year, the event will look slightly different.
COTS will ask supporters to “answer the call” for the upcoming annual Phonathon. Volunteers will begin to call past donors Monday, November 29, through Thursday, December 2 as the nonprofit’s oldest annual fundraiser kicks off.
Thank you for making the holidays so special for people, especially children, experiencing homelessness. We appreciate your generosity immensely.
National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is taking place November 13-21 this year. Throughout the week, COTS will be raising awareness around hunger and homelessness along with organizations and individuals across the country.
Saturday, October 16th, at 9:00 AM, the annual Ooky Spooky 5K kicked off at Rock Point School.
The annual COTS Back to School Drive kicked off late July with a Lake Monsters Game and concluded August 31st. The Back to School Drive began in 2015, making this the sixth successful year of helping get much needed supplies into the hands of children in our community.