By Maj Eisinger, Contributor

What does the Food Shelf have in common with Australian magpies?

Many of us are appreciating the vast quantities of bird song and avian nesting behavior near our homes. A recent article in The New York Times “Experiment Foiled: Magpies Helping Magpies” talks about altruistic behavior among Australian magpies and Seychelles warblers.

The magpies cooperated to manipulate tracking harnesses off their bodies; the Seychelles warblers helped other members of their social group escape from sticky seed clusters. Closer to home, there are many similar acts of altruism and generosity. There are efforts of our neighbors to honor, memorialize or thank another by “paying it forward” donating to the Food Shelf and thus amplifying an original act of kindness.

The Food Shelf thanks the Patrick Foundation for the donation in memory of Robert Fleming and Jane Howe Patrick; the Charlotte Senior Center patrons for the generous donations of paper products and cleaning supplies; Meredith and Peter Moses for supplying nonperishable items; participants in the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Easter Food drive, which supplied families with many nonperishable food items and treats for the children; Walter Gates, Kathleen Nolan and Rice Lumber for monetary donations; and Dave Quickel of Stony Loam Farm who gave the Food Shelf over 100 pounds of potatoes, carrots and beets.

The Food Shelf continues to appreciate regular donations of 6–8 dozen eggs from Linda Hamilton’s prolific hens and delicious bread from O Bread Bakery at Shelburne Farms.

The April weather is inspiring local gardeners to plan their spring planting. The Food Shelf is grateful to all community gardeners who have provided healthy leafy greens and vegetables in the past. Now, as food prices rise due to fuel crises and an expected wheat shortage, locally grown produce is especially needed. Fresh produce is appreciated and welcomed on distribution dates (the second and fourth Wednesday of each month) throughout the growing season.

If you grow, plant an extra row! Thank you in advance for considering this.

Monetary donations of any size are appreciated. Donations can be addressed to: Charlotte Food Shelf, Inc., P.O. Box 83, Charlotte, VT 05445. The Food Shelf is a 501(c)3 entity, and contributions remain tax deductible.

The Food Shelf is open for food distribution from 4–6 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.

For emergency food, please call John at 802-425-3130. If you cannot come to food shelf distribution due to COVID symptoms, or need further information about the Food Shelf, please call 802-425-3252. Given concerns about increasing risk from rising levels of the more transmissible COVID-19 variants, we have high quality N95 masks supplied by the community resilience committee available. We continue to encourage masking and will continue to distribute food by curbside pickup to keep families and volunteers safe.