By Susan Ohanian, Contributor

People matter! The Vermont Foodbank is a member of Feeding America, which developed out of the idea of one man: John van Hengel. In the late 1960s. Van Hengel, a retired businessman in Phoenix, Arizona, met a woman who regularly rummaged through grocery store garbage bins to find food for her children. Van Hengel, then a volunteer at a soup kitchen, responded to the woman’s idea that discarded food ought to be made available in places besides garbage bins. He established St. Mary’s Food Bank as the nation’s first foodbank.

This idea caught on and as foodbanks increased across the country, Van Hengel established Second Harvest. In 2008, the name was changed to Feeding America to better reflect the mission of the organization.

Today, thanks to one volunteer’s mission, Feeding America is a network of 200 foodbanks across the country, each one depending on volunteers to accomplish its community vision.

Speaking to the Burlington Free Press, John Sayles, CEO of the Vermont Foodbank noted that “you can’t solve hunger in a vacuum, it has to involve people in communities and how they are supporting each other,” adding how remarkable local foodbanks were in staying open throughout this entire COVID crisis.

Sayles made a critical point: “Solving hunger is not something that should be seen as charitable work. It’s really about justice, and without the state and the federal government taking responsibility to ensure that everyone has the resources to have the food that we eat, we can’t do this.”

Go to the Vermont Foodbank site where they answer many questions.

The Charlotte Food Shelf is an all volunteer organization located in the Congregational Church vestry at: 403 Church Hill Road. 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, PO Box 83, Charlotte, Vermont 05445. Thank you.

Schedule
The Food Shelf is open the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. For Emergency Food, call John at (802) 425-3130

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.

Assistance
The following types of assistance are available:

  • Adult Preventative Dental Care Assistance
  • Emergency Assistance with fuel and electric bills

Check the Food Shelf website for more information of different types of assistance and eligibility. Applications are available at the Food Shelf and online. The website also contains information about other Vermont resources offering further assistance. Emergencies outside the scope of established programs may receive assistance. Call (802) 425-3252.

Children’s Assistance
Non-marking sneakers for PE at school

Winter clothing. Remember: The Grange annual rummage sale is coming in October.

High interest children’s books are available at the Food Shelf and from the rubber tub on The Grange steps. We invite children to choose a book that looks interesting. Read it and then choose another one.

Volunteers Welcomed
The Food Shelf welcomes volunteers to assist with:

  • Food distribution
  • Food Shopping
  • Special projects throughout the year

There are a variety of volunteer opportunities available, and we look forward to continued community participation in these challenging times. For information please call: (802) 425-3252.

Speaking of volunteers, the time is near of The Food Shelf annual membership meeting. This year it will be held Thursday, September 30 at 7 p.m. via ZOOM. If you would like to attend, please e-mail Food Shelf Secretary Peggy Sharpe. You will then receive the agenda.