By Susan Ohanian, Contributor

Next month’s Charlotte News will include a fulsome “thank you” to the many people and businesses in our community whose generosity makes our work possible throughout the year. But now we focus on December, which is filled with lots of activity and many people who deserve our heartfelt words of special appreciation.

Thank you to SCHIP for the bountiful grant they awarded.

Thank you to those who have made special efforts to spread seasonal joy. The holiday baskets prepared by lots of people at Charlotte Central School overflow with good tidings.

We are thankful that Hunger is Hard, Baking is Easy is back! On Dec. 17, they accept baked goods for the Food Shelf holiday baskets. Baked goods should be wrapped and put in bags or on plates that do not need to be returned. Please indicate if an item contains nuts. Bring baked items to the Charlotte Congregational Church Dec. 17 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Please message Holly Rochefort if you need to make other arrangements.

We are grateful that, as at Thanksgiving, the Rotary Club of Charlotte-Shelburne-Hinesburg makes sure every one of those holiday baskets has a turkey. Dale Garvey added cheese for each basket, Louise McCarren provided fresh fruit, and Cooper Harvey donated 90 pounds of venison.

Giving Tree shoppers and Secret Santas have been working hard in the background to make this trying time special for each child. Thank you to Laura Iglehart who coordinates the Giving Trees and the wonderful toy and children’s book donations. WowToyz in Vergennes continues their annual generous gift of toys. The Flying Pig’s Snowflake Program ensures that each child receives a special book. Big thanks to Stephanie Wells who helped sort the donated toys and books for holiday baskets pick-up day. Big thanks also to Jon Davis and Wolfie Davis for all their work on pick-up day.

Holiday basket pick-up: Dec. 18, 10 a.m. to noon, in the Charlotte Congregational Church parking lot.

New winter hours starting Dec. 29: Food Shelf open 4 to 6 p.m., and the second and fourth Wednesday of each month thereafter.

The new year
In a November presentation to the Selectboard, Food Shelf Secretary Peggy Sharpe told the Selectboard, “The Food Shelf is searching for a new location.” Peggy asked that we keep our eyes to the ground for any locations that would be a good fit for a nonprofit. She noted that, although the Congregational Church has been incredibly generous in sharing space with us, “we really need to find something that works better for volunteers and better for the people that we’re serving.”

Peggy emphasized that the Charlotte community has always been very generous to the Food Shelf, which is a volunteer organization with no paid employees. Currently, there are over 40 volunteers who handle such things as food procurement, purchasing, distribution, emergency requests, special holiday programs, collaboration with CCS, fall backpack/school supplies program, winter clothing, CCS shoe-in program, the summer lunch program, and the assistance program, through which people may apply for assistance for heat, utilities, rent and other things such as appliance repair. Not to mention balancing the books, publicity and thank-you notes.

Peggy asked the Selectboard to put the Food Shelf on their radar; this would be the start of finding new ways to forge a more formal collaboration that would assist and enhance the Food Shelf’s ability to meet and extend outreach into the community.

Contact Information
For Emergency Food, call John: 802-425-3130.
For Information, call: 802-425-3252.
Monetary Donations: Charlotte Food Shelf, Inc., P.O. Box 83, Charlotte, VT 05445

Thank you for understanding and helping with our need to keep everyone as safe as possible.