Bob Duncan, Joyce Hagan, Lucy Samara, and Michael Lipson were honored with the Samara-Anderson Walk Award for extraordinary and longtime support of COTS.

COTS Honors Volunteers and Community Partners

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Thursday November 16, 2017

The Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) hosted its annual meeting and volunteer appreciation breakfast October 27 at the First Congregational Church of Burlington. The event honors the extraordinary contributions by volunteers, community partners, and local businesses that support COTS work to end homelessness. The recipients were chosen for their outstanding service and commitment to assist and advocate for those struggling with homelessness or those who are marginally housed. Three South Burlington residents were among the honorees, Michael Lipson, Lucy Samara, and Becky Cassidy.

Lipson and Samara received the Samara-Anderson Walk Award along with Bob Duncan and Joyce Hagan from Burlington. This award began 20 years ago, when an anonymous donor created a challenge for community members to raise a minimum of $1,000 for the COTS Walk. If a walker reached this goal, their donations would be matched by the anonymous donor. The four award winners, who met that challenge and who have taken the COTS Walk Challenge all 20 years, are also former board members and continue to remain involved in COTS to date.

Cassidy was honored for her efforts as part of the Church Street Marketplace, who received the COTS Community Partner Award. Along with executive director Ron Redmond of Essex Junction and Jenny Morse of Burlington, Cassidy was recognized as part of the team who supports many of the nonprofit’s programs. Becky Holt, COTS development director, writes that the Church Street Marketplace was key in the launch of their #172vt campaign to raise awareness about homeless schoolchildren in 2015. Other notable efforts included supporting COTS through Champ and Champette, the coin collecting lake monsters that have raised thousands of dollars, the organization’s candlelight vigil, as well as their events the Coolest Lunch and the Days of Giving.

Other honorees included Vermont Governor Phil Scott who received the Leahy Leadership Award, Westport Hospitality’s Hotel Vermont who was named COTS Corporate Hero, Hannah Woodruff of Waterbury who received the Wilma Rayta Volunteer of the Year Award, and Charlotte Central School who received the Youth Hero Award.

Founded in 1982, COTS provides emergency shelter to homeless families and individuals, homelessness prevention, case-management and referral services to those who are homeless or marginally housed, and permanent housing to low-income families and individuals. Learn more at