By Susan Ohanian, Contributor

Keep cool as a cucumber
Green Mountain Farm-to-School offers Harvest of the Month as a variety of programs promoting a different Vermont-grown crop each month. They provide ready-to-use materials for classrooms, cafeterias and communities. For them, July is Cucumber Month.

When we take a close look at the cucumber, we learn it is one of the oldest cultivated vegetables, a part of our diet for some 4,000 years. Known in Europe in the Middle Ages, scholars tell us that the cucumber may have originated in India. Some 100 varieties are now cultivated.

From the long, thin Japanese cucumber to the short, squat gherkin, cucumbers come in all shapes and sizes.

People are surprised to learn that cucumbers promote good health. They are packed with vitamin K and magnesium, helping to promote a healthy immune system and muscle function. Because they are composed of about 96 percent water, cucumbers are especially effective at promoting hydration and can help you meet your daily fluid needs. So, grab a cucumber instead of a cola.

Experts advise that to maximize the nutrient content of cucumbers we should not peel them. That said, many people who bake their cucumbers peel them first. But you don’t need to peel cucumbers to bake them as chips.

We don’t know if the bear wandering our roads likes cucumbers, but we do know that people should not leave bird feeders out this time of year.

Helping hands
If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, lend a helping hand.

Edsel Hammond of Edsel Automotive here in Charlotte checked out the car of someone trying to make repairs little by little and needing to know if the car would pass inspection. Edsel made a list of additional repairs that the car owner could do himself, and the Food Shelf helped purchase necessary parts. Edsel insisted on donating his time to get this family back on the road. A big thank you to him!

And a big thank you to Bruce Williamson, who wouldn’t accept payment when he helped Merrie Perron. Instead, he suggested that she donate to the Food Shelf. Special thanks to Madeleine Mfochive, Madeline Bunting, Rose Bunting and Hadley Abernathy for their great help at the Wednesday distribution.

The Charlotte Food Shelf is now accepting paper goods. Paper towels, Kleenex-type tissues, paper napkins and toilet paper are all welcome.

Items can be left on the covered entry hall at the back of the Congregational Church on Wednesdays (our distribution day) or at the drop box for the Food Shelf at the library. Note: The Food Shelf is open the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

Healthy snacks and nonperishable lunch items are an important item for kids this summer. We would definitely appreciate donations to help with this important kids’ program.

Free meals to children 18 and younger
The Champlain Valley School District is providing free meals to children 18 and younger. To order meals fill out this form. If you have questions, please call (802) 871-6198. Meals are available for pickup Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Charlotte Library at 115 Ferry Road.

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, and we will come up with an assistance plan. We need to help families and volunteers stay safe.

For emergency food, call John at (802) 425-3130.

The Food Shelf has some funds available for emergency assistance with fuel and electric bills. Call (802) 425-3252 if you need assistance.

Check the Food Shelf website, for more information on different types of financial assistance and eligibility. Applications are available at the Food Shelf and online. The website also contains information about other Vermont resources offering further assistance.

The Charlotte Food Shelf, Inc. is a nonprofit organization supported by the Charlotte Congregational Church, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church and the Charlotte community. Our organization is run by volunteers, and all donations made to the Food Shelf go directly for nutritious food and assistance to our neighbors in Charlotte and North Ferrisburgh.

Checks may be mailed to Charlotte Food Shelf and Assistance, P.O. Box 83, Charlotte, VT 05445.