The name “pansy” is derived from the French word pensée, “thought,” and so we see Ophelia distributing flowers while saying, “There’s pansies, that’s for thoughts.” We would say “good, generous thoughts” to the Horsford Gardens and Nursery for their gifts. In addition to a very generous monetary donation to the Food Shelf, they gave a pot of pansies to every family.

Surely the pansy is a harbinger of good weather. It was a favorite of Emily Dickinson, who noted that its hardiness in withstanding the end-of-winter chill announced the coming of spring. You can find pansies in the herbarium Emily made as a teen, pressing plant specimens into 65 pages of a leather-bound book. Harvard’s Houghton Library owns this delicate item and has digitized its pages so you can take a look

Next, enjoy Vincent van Gogh’s “Basket of Pansies” on display at the Amsterdam museum bearing his name and think generous thoughts about the continued good health of our community.

Thank you. Thank you.
Every senior year before graduation the class at Champlain Valley School District chooses a special organization to receive a gift from the class. This year the class chose to give to area food shelves. So a special hats off to the class of 2020! Susan Raber Bray is in the process of making 108 ceramic bowls for the people who signed up within a few days of her announcement on Front Porch Forum. People write a check to the Food Shelf and receive a hand-crafted bowl. This means $4,104 will be coming to the Food Shelf through Susan’s creative and generous talents. You can take a look at the beautiful bowls at susanraber.com/bowl-benefit.

More generosity:
A grant from Vermont Food bank, Patterson Fuels, Edward & Birgit Deeds, Matthew Zucker & Claudia Marshall, Robert & Katherine Mesaros, James & Jennifer Usher, Laura Cahners Ford, Jeff & Irene Hobar, Barry Finette & Sharon Mount, Katherine Reo, Catherine Hughes, Meg Berlin, Norman & Dorothy Pellett, Ronda Moore, DVM, Mr. & Mrs. Richard Flood, Daniel Pflaster & Tanna Kelton, Catherine & Gregory Manning, Josie & Benjamin Kaestner, Elizabeth Bassett & John Pane, Greg & Lynn Cluff, Ella Kenny, CVS fundraising project.

A special nod of gratitude to Carrie Spear for supplies of needed items (including toilet paper— think of that, the item everybody is hoarding!); to Louise McCarren, special flour finder; to Lynn Cluff for choosing the Food Shelf for Mother’s Day; to Michael Russell, our newest distribution volunteer. About that flour: Louise brought in a 25-pound bag of this item as scarce as toilet paper. And here’s a fascinating feature on how the pandemic has affected the producer, King Arthur, the employee-owned company that started in 1790 in Boston as an importer of European flour. The company fielded 50,000 questions in April — about half of them asking where to find flour. Bringing the goodwill story full circle, we note that during the pandemic King Arthur has been paying some of its bakery customers around the country to bake bread and donate it to local good causes.

Sharing seeds and local food
Because of COVID-19 precautions, the Charlotte Library isn’t distributing heirloom seeds this spring. But they do offer regular gardener-support programs and plenty of online information that they hope will support and encourage local food producers. Take a look at the plan for seed sharing: New Gardener Support Programs.

Linda Hamilton and Karen Tuininga, seed library coordinators, offer this suggestion: If you have room, plant a few extra veggies in your garden for the Charlotte Food Shelf, especially fresh tomatoes, squash, green and yellow beans, peas, cucumbers, lettuce, peppers, radish, corn, broccoli, potatoes. They will be so appreciated. Just reading this list offers us a warm glimpse of the tastes of summer, and please do remember: Sharing a tomato is as delicious as eating one.

Keeping safe
The Food Shelf continues to take precautions to help everyone keep safe. Anyone who has a fever or cough—or symptoms that might seem like a cold—should not come to the distributions. Also, don’t come if you have been in contact with anyone who has these symptoms. Instead, call (802) 425-3252 and leave your name and number. You will receive a call back to come up with a plan. We need to help families and volunteers stay safe.

We are now open every Wednesday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. This is curbside service only. Cars pull up to a sign that says “Please wait in car.” A volunteer offers a checklist for patrons to select the items they need. A volunteer packs the items and then another volunteer carries the bags out, setting them beside the car.

Financial assistance
Reminder: The Food Shelf has some funds available for emergency assistance with fuel and electric bills. Call (802) 425-3252 if you need assistance. For emergency food call John at (802) 425-3130.

Donations
The Charlotte Food Shelf, Inc. is a nonprofit organization, and all donations are tax deductible. Our organization is run by volunteers, and so all donations made to the Food Shelf go directly for nutritious food or assistance to our local neighbors in Charlotte and North Ferrisburgh. 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 and Assistance, P.O. Box 83, Charlotte, VT 05445.

Call the Food Shelf at (802) 425-3252 for a recording of the distribution times.