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Public Post is a community reporting initiative using digital tools to report on cities and towns across Vermont.Public Post is the only resource that lets you browse and search documents across dozens of Vermont municipal websites in one place.Follow reporter Amy Kolb Noyes and #PublicPost on Twitter and read news from the Post below.

Breakfasts Fortify Hunters And Community Organizations

Jennifer Blay
The annual hunter's breakfast at the Lowell Graded School is just one of many being put on this deer season by community organizations around the state.

Today is opening day of rifle season for deer hunters in Vermont. Hunters around the state got an early start into the woods. But the first stop for many was a community hunter’s breakfast.

Many a deer hunter was up before dawn this morning, in hopes of bagging a buck on opening day. But up even earlier were scores of volunteer cooks preparing hunter’s breakfasts. At the Waterbury Area Senior Center, breakfast service started at 4 o’clock this morning. But planning and prep got underway days ago. On Thursday chef Gale Badeau made raspberry muffins – a task that included lining 200 muffin tins.

While the hunter’s breakfast is an established tradition in Waterbury, this is the first year it has been held at the Senior Center. It used to be a fundraiser for the fire department. Then, for the last several years, it was put on by the Grange.

"We were approached by the Waterbury Grange," explained Waterbury Area Senior Center Executive Director Karol Smith. "The Grange closed a couple weeks ago ... and they asked us to carry on the tradition."

With a small staff and a fleet of volunteers who are used to putting on community meals, Karol Smith says the Senior Center is uniquely qualified to take on breakfast for about a hundred hunters and other community members.

Credit Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR
Karol Smith looks on as Gale Badeau fills muffin wrappers with raspberry muffin batter. The muffins are being served at the Waterbury Area Senior Center's hunter's breakfast.

"We serve breakfast in our Meals on Wheels," said Smith. "And we serve Rotary breakfast on Tuesdays here, so we have bacon and ham and sausage as our regular order, so we just added a little more to it."

The Waterbury Area Senior Center is just one of many organizations around the state that put on a hunter’s breakfast as a community event and fundraiser.

In the Northeast Kingdom town of Lowell, a group called the Friends of Lowell Kids puts on a popular breakfast at the Lowell Graded School cafeteria. Jennifer Blay is a teacher and a parent at the school. And she says the annual breakfast is for more than just hunters.

"A lot of families hunt together," said Blay. "It’s a pastime and an activity in the Northeast Kingdom. And, for those who don’t hunt, they love the food."

And according to Jennifer Blay and parent volunteer Mandy Kneeland, there’s a lot of food to choose from, and a lot to prepare,

The two women list off: "Thirty pounds of bacon, 20 pounds of potatoes, 20 dozen eggs, pancakes, flour, milk … Oh, the sausage gravy’s pretty awesome too. Biscuits, homemade jellies, everything you can think about a hunter’s breakfast. Baked goods, homemade syrup that’s made locally right here."

Mandy Kneeland says they serve a lot of breakfasts out of the school’s cramped kitchen. "We typically do between 70 and 80 people. It goes pretty well," she said. "The biggest part of the fundraiser is the raffle tickets that we sell."

On a good year the Friends of Lowell Kids – or FOLK for short – makes upwards of a thousand dollars from the hunter’s breakfast.

Credit Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR
Students at the Lowell Graded School enjoy one of the play structures purchased by FOLK using proceeds from the hunter's breakfast.

And outside the school, a group of kindergartners and first graders are enjoying the rewards. A few years ago the group raised enough money to buy two new playground structures. The FOLK hunter’s breakfast has also paid for special school activities like author visits and field trips. And they give out scholarships to Lowell Graded School graduates.

Amy is an award winning journalist who has worked in print and radio in Vermont since 1991. Her first job in professional radio was at WVMX in Stowe, where she worked as News Director and co-host of The Morning Show. She was a VPR contributor from 2006 to 2020.
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