The Food Shelf is again teaming up with the Grange in a winter-wear drive. We will take any winter wear that is gently used: coats, snow pants, boots, hats, gloves, scarves, warm pajamas, socks, sweaters. You name it—we can put it to very good use for children. Items can be dropped off any time at the Charlotte Library or at the Grange during the rummage sale drop off times the first week in October. Watch for posts on Front Porch Forum for specific times. For newbies in town, the Grange is located at 2898 Spear Street.

In an average year we provide nearly 20 kids with warm winter clothing. Parents submit sizes, and volunteers sort through donated items so that everything is available for try-on prior to the rummage sale. All items are given to the families free of charge. If we are not able to match donations to kids we will purchase items for them, usually snow pants as these see the most wear and tear with outdoor play! Families are notified of the date and time of the try-on night, and it’s a very fun time for the kids.

Most of us remember the start of a new school year: New hopes mingle with very real uncertainties. Very aware of these mixed feelings, the Food Shelf works to help kids get on their way to great places at Charlotte Central with a smile—and a new backpack.

The Food Shelf also organizes the Shoe-In project. Years ago, Charlotte Central started a program to help kids get gym shoes—to be in compliance with the school rule that only gym shoes could be worn on the gym floors. Over time, the Food Shelf has assumed responsibility for this Shoe-In program and expanded it a bit. School counselor Betsy Lloyd sends out a letter to parents making them aware that scholarships are available for gym shoes or new school shoes. The Food Shelf then supplies gift cards for Olympia Sports. So you see, with your help, we are involved with food for the body, food for the spirit and occasional footwear.

First day of a new school year: Back to basics
You’re off to great places. Today is your first day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!
~ Dr. Seuss

Contributions
It has been a difficult gardening season, and we want to say “Thank you!” to everyone who donated fresh garden produce. This culinary delight is always most appreciated by families.

Thanks for financial contributions go to Anne Castle, Meg Berlin, and Karen and Bill Doris in honor of Jim and Kathy Manchester, and to Jim and Kathy Manchester.

Overall, donations to the Food Shelf have been down nearly 20 percent. This brings special concern because we are worried about the life expectancy of our giant refrigerator, which malfunctioned recently. Obviously, this refrigerator is a crucial part of our food distribution system, as milk, eggs, yogurts and other items need to be kept cold between the time our shoppers do their work and our distribution times. We recently had to replace the thermostat but have fingers crossed that the refrigerator will hold up.
Aware that some people would rather give a physical gift than a check, please know that we currently need size-4 and size-5 diapers.

Important distribution dates at the Charlotte Congregational Church
Wednesdays, Oct. 10 and Oct. 24: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Thursdays, Oct. 11 and Oct. 25: 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Financial assistance
As a reminder, the Food Shelf has some funds available for emergency assistance with fuel and electric bills. You may contact Pat Rodar at (802) 425-3083 if you need assistance.

We are available to all community residents. Privacy is very important and respected in our mission of neighbor helping neighbor.

For emergency food call John at (802) 425-3130.
For emergency assistance (electricity, fuel) call Pat at (802) 425-3083.
For more information call Karen at (802) 425-3252.

Donations
We are a volunteer organization, so all donations you make to the Food Shelf go directly for food and assistance to our local neighbors in need. Should you wish to honor someone with a donation, a special acknowledgement will be sent to that person. Checks may be mailed to Charlotte Food Shelf & Assistance, P.O. Box 83, Charlotte, VT 05445. Thank you.

Donated food drop-off locations
All nonperishable food donations may be dropped off at the Charlotte Library, the Charlotte Congregational Church vestry, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church (main entrance) or at the Food Shelf during the distribution mornings. Please check expiration dates. We request that all fresh foods be dropped off at the Food Shelf before the Wednesday distribution hours or before 7:30 a.m. on the Thursday distribution mornings.

The Charlotte Food Shelf is located on the lower level of the Charlotte Congregational Church vestry. Distribution days and times are posted on bulletin boards in the Charlotte Congregational Church Hall, at the Charlotte Library and at the Charlotte Senior Center. You may also call the Food Shelf at (802) 425-3252 for a recording of the distribution times.