By Susan Ohanian, Contributor

You scream.
I scream.
We all scream
For zucchini!

Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but fresh vegetables are popular—and they are beneficial.

Attention all gardeners: Your gifts of fresh veggies the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month are very much appreciated.

We send a big thank you to Sweet Roots Farm for a bountiful supply of squash. When we say bountiful, we’re talking summer squash, straight-neck squash, zucchini and patty-pan squash.

Healthy lunches
Again, we want to express gratitude to members of the Charlotte Congregational Church and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, as well as for a grant from United Church of Christ. This work and these funds have made a great lunch program possible this summer. Lunch bags filled with healthy snacks and nonperishable healthful food continue to be available at the Charlotte Library, Spear’s Store and the Food Shelf. We are pleased to report that participation has been very good.

Needed
Not wanting to neglect food for the mind, the Food Shelf is distributing high-interest books to children of all ages, from birth to teen. At present, we are looking for self-help/personal growth books for teens, as well as books about finance and budgets. Middle graders have requested books describing occupations—books along the lines of  “So you want to be a fireman… a stone mason…a beautician…a health care worker….” and more. Kids we’ve talked to expressed a great interest in how things work, and we would love to distribute books that answer these questions. We welcome contributions in these areas and will see that they get to the children. There is a Food Shelf dropbox at the Charlotte Library.

We remind everyone that high-interest children’s books, mostly fiction, are available in a rubber container on The Grange steps. Invite a child you know to go take a look—and take a book. Our goal this summer has been to be sure that every child in Charlotte has a good book to read. This project will continue into the fall…and beyond. Children need to be able to choose books, books they can keep.

Please consider helping out with school supplies: pens, pencils, boxes of markers and crayons, glue, folders, notebooks, sheet protectors.

Please think ahead to the Grange rummage sale coming early in October. There will be a special effort in collecting winter wear for children in our community.

Important Notice: Commodity Supplemental Food Program
The Vermont Food Bank is doing a special outreach push. If you are age 60 or older and meet income guidelines, you can get a free box of food every month. Learn more and fill out a simple online application.

To apply by phone call 1-800-214-4648. To request a paper application, email the Food Bank.

Announcement
The Charlotte Food Shelf accepts donations of paper goods. Paper towels, Kleenex-type tissues, paper napkins and toilet paper are all welcome. Items can be left in 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.

Keeping Safe
We offer a big thank you to everybody in the community for following the Covid guidelines. 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.

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.

Check the Food Shelf website for more information about 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.

The Food Shelf is open the second and fourth Wednesday of every month from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.