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Tuesday July 26, 2016 Edition
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Neat Repeats A 26 Year Celebration Of Community And Family

Tuesday July 26, 2016

By Mike Cameron

Neat Repeats Resale Shop located on Bakery Lane in Middlebury is currently enjoying it's 27th year of service without ever having had a grand opening. What this non-profit cares about and how much they care is a story about thoughtfulness, vision, diversity, volunteerism and trust.
    Their business model is based on a co-ordinated team effort where by service to others is considered a privilege by all who work there and it shows. The organization has awarded over $2.2 million dollars in grants during their 26 year history and they show no signs of slowing down. All profits from sales benefit Addison County.
    How does it work?  It's a simple concept.  People shop, donate and volunteer.  By doing so Neat Repeats sells donated items in their store.  It's a quintessential win, win, situation.  
    For Neat Repeat Directors; Linda Waterman and Diane Howlett this process is their passion.  Linda is one of the founders of the shop begun in 1990.  Diane came on board in 1994  as a volunteer and became a director in 2002.  Both women are direct and purposeful, when asked about their organizations success over the years.  “Were not high tech,” Diane advises with a smile and Linda adds, “the diversity of our volunteers,”is very important to mention.  
    This down to earth approach has been incredibly successful.  Both women are not just dedicated and easy to talk to, they also enjoy sharing information especially when it comes to helping others in their community.  Their track record of achievement at Neat Repeats speaks volumes about what people can accomplish when they dare to care.  This philosophy is shared by over 50 individual volunteers. “We also have a lot of fun,” Linda explains.  
Making a Difference in People's Lives
Money raised from Neat Repeats Resale Shop helps to bolster a wide range of vital community projects.  Annually a $15,000 grant is awarded to HOPE to help with housing assistance.  Twenty nine other Organizations and Programs were awarded a combined total of $14,750.    Fifty Three individual Family Assistance Programs received a total of $10,822, Organization Support Consignments received $9,804, Elderly Services $6,000, Scholarships -MAUHS, MUHS, and VUHS, $5,400, Dental Assistance for 12, $5,175, and Educational Opportunities for 19, $4,625.  We are only at the half way mark.   Others include Middlebury Regional EMS $3,000, Homeward Bound $2,000, Cornwall Volunteer Fire Department. $1,200, Middlebury Festival-on-the Green $1000, Vt. Symphony Orchestra School Outreach $1000, Sheldon Museum $750, Addison Central Teens $750, Young Fashions,Inc. $750, and Sports Opportunities for 2 $600, all were made possible through Neat Repeats and the ultimate generosity of their loyal patrons. All profits from sales benefit Addison County.
    Neat Repeats carries clothing, jewelry, accessories, housewares and other miscellaneous items.  All profits from sales are re-cycled back into the community.  Their drop-off box is available 24-7 at the shop located on Bakery Lane in downtown Middlebury.  Hours are (9:30-4:30 Monday-Saturday).  Community members are encouraged to deliver only goods that are of resale quality.
The Future
What happens down the road?  Both Linda and Diane show a knowing smile as they plan Neat Repeat's future course.  Both are confident that leadership will continue to evolve from within their ranks.  After all this is an organization made up of energetic volunteers who dare to care and are willing to work tirelessly to accomplish their mission of helping others when needs arise.  


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