By Susan Ohanian

Although Thanksgiving and December holidays are on the horizon, we do want to note that our dedicated volunteers added Halloween festivity to the late October distribution —with a clown, a cowgirl and a boat captain working curbside and a backdrop of orange and black decorations, cobwebs, a pumpkin, and spooky eyes lighting up the entrance.

Caps and mittens knitted by Hilary Smith. Photo by Cindi Robinson

Caps and mittens knitted by Hilary Smith. Photo by Cindi Robinson

Thank you to: Carol Slesar & Stanley Rosenthal, a gift in honor of Pat Nestork’s birthday, J.A. Morrissey, Inc., Margaret Berlin, Sharon & Douglas Weaver, Hank & Josephine Kaestner, Peter & Diane Rosenfeld, Terrance Dinnan & Marty Illick, Kathleen Nolan, Alexis & Thomas Carlson, Beth & Edd Merritt.

Appreciation for longtime contribution
Please note that Karen Doris, President of Charlotte Food Shelf Inc. Board of Directors, wrote a letter expressing great appreciation to the Charlotte Central School teachers, staff and students— in gratitude for 25 years of partnership. In this long-standing collaboration, artwork to baked goods offerings from the school have helped to make Thanksgiving and December holiday distributions unique. A special thank you to Kris Gerson for all her years of coordinating this community project.

In her letter, Karen noted that because of the COVID pandemic, the Food Shelf can no longer accept the donation of food baskets, including those wonderful baked items and creative edibles. Likewise, this year we won’t have the large morning gatherings where community volunteers gather to fill boxes with a great variety of foodstuffs. Instead, the Food Shelf will provide each family with a turkey provided by the Charlotte-Shelburne-Hinesburg Rotary and a Hannaford gift card for their holiday meal.

Distribution of turkeys and gift cards for each registered family to complete their Thanksgiving dinner will be on Saturday, Nov. 21, curbside, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Please note: There will be the regular Wednesday night distribution on Wednesday, Nov. 18, as well as this special Saturday distribution. There will be no distribution on Wednesday, Nov. 25, the night before Thanksgiving.

The Charlotte-Shelburne-Hinesburg Rotary, whose motto is “Service Above Self,” is doing more. From now through November, they are collecting new and like-new jackets, boots, hats, mittens and gloves in both adult and children’s sizes to distribute to the schools in Charlotte, Shelburne and Hinesburg. School liaisons will distribute this clothing, making sure every child may enjoy a warm Vermont winter. Please look in your hearts and your closets and consider donating clothing or money for this effort. To donate cash at the drop-off locations, please make checks payable to “CSH Rotary Club.” Drop-off locations include the Charlotte and Hinesburg libraries, the Shelburne Town Offices, Adirondack Audiology (Marsett Road and Route 7), and the law office of Richard J. Fox PLLC (181 Falls Road in Shelburne).

Speaking of making sure children are outfitted for winter, take a look at the beautiful caps and mittens lovingly knitted by Hilary Smith.

Thanks to Tara Mullen and Bill Lockwood for their sumptuous gala donation of new toys to brighten children’s holidays.

Backdoor Bread continues to provide top-of-the-line delicious bread. We also received lovely jars of honey from Jen Slater, many great veggies as well as toddler clothes from Tai Dinnan. Will Murphy donated eggs from his home flock, Louise McCarren has been keeping her garden going with fall veggies, and community farmer David Miskell’s fresh greens continue to bring big smiles.

Giving trees
Each child’s Holiday Wish Ornament has been hung on a Giving Tree at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church (OLMC) or at the Charlotte Congregational Church (CCC). These ornaments went up on Sunday, Nov. 8. The wrapped gift with ornament attached should be returned to the church by Dec. 13. We send a big thank you to all who participate in this long-running children’s program that brings immeasurable joy to the kids. If you have questions or need further information, please call your church office and leave a message for Giving Tree coordinators Anne Marie Andriola and Kelly Stockwell at OLMC or Kristen Nelson at CCC.

Important notice
If a family can’t get to the Food Shelf, they should call (802) 425-3252 to arrange for food delivery. Just leave a name and number for a return call. We don’t want anyone cut off from necessary basics: food, shelter, utilities or gas for their car. Our community calls out to people: Don’t be reluctant to ask for a little help when you need it.

For anyone suffering economic hardship from COVID-19, look into the possibility of assistance through the Vermont Covid-19 Arrearage Assistance Program (VCAAP). This program provides eligible Vermont utility ratepayers served by a fixed-line telephone service, Vermont electric or natural gas with a grant to assist with past-due balances. For more information, you can call your local Vermont Community Action Agency or contact the Department’s Consumer Affairs and Public Information (CAPI) Division at (800) 622-4496 or via email.

The Charlotte Food Shelf is an all-volunteer organization supported by the Charlotte Congregational Church, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church and the Charlotte community. It is located in the Congregational Church vestry at 403 Church Hill Road.

It is open Wednesday evenings from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for curbside pickup. Delivery is also available to those sheltering in place for health reasons and to those who find themselves unable to get to the delivery night. The Food Shelf contact number is (802) 425-3252.

Visit the website for more information on other assistance programs, such as 3 Squares VT.

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.

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.

Volunteers welcome
The Food Shelf welcomes volunteers to assist with, food distribution, food shopping, special projects throughout the year. For information please call (802) 425-3252.

Donations
The Charlotte Food Shelf, Inc. is a nonprofit organization; all donations are tax deductible. Our organization is run by volunteers, so all donations made to the Food Shelf go directly for nutritious food or assistance to our 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, P.O. Box 83, Charlotte, VT 05445. Call the Food Shelf at (802) 425-3252 for a recording of the distribution times.