With benefits reduced, donations provide safety net

This spring, we have been privileged to view the phoebe pair that has built a nest under our eaves. They are dedicated to the care and feeding of three nestlings, whose progress we mark from afar. Their appetites appear insatiable and we rejoice in their growth. With the world avian population diminishing by 30 percent, we are happy to support the progress of this phoebe family.

Here in Charlotte, we are grateful for the way neighbors continue to support the food shelf, especially since the number of families requiring assistance has increased. Since the declaration of the end of the COVID emergency, summer funding for children who lack access to lunch provided during the school term has vanished. We thus deeply appreciate the support of William and Barbara Benedict and Lois McClure, in honor of their Cedar Beach friends Carol Clark and Harriet Sherman. Clark and Sherman were teachers who understood students’ need of support in the summertime.

As SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits have been reduced, and meat is in short supply in our recent Food Bank deliveries, donations provide an important safety net. We appreciate donations received from the Charlotte Congregational Church, as well as Barry Finette and Sharon Mount. We are grateful for Backyard Bread’s fundraiser, which donated all profits to the Charlotte Food Shelf. In addition, we thank Stewart’s Bread for its continuing supply of rolls and those anonymous neighbors who have provided fresh eggs to families we serve.

We remind gardeners to consider planting an extra row to harvest for the food shelf; please call Nancy Bloch (802-598-0410) for produce or nonperishable food donations.

For many years the Congregational Church has generously provided space to us in its basement. We are still actively searching for a new home, hoping to find a first-floor space of about 600 square feet with room for parking and receipt of large food orders. Please contact Peggy Sharpe, food shelf secretary with any leads.

The Charlotte Food Shelf remains committed to providing dignified access to healthy food as well as assistance to those in need. We remind the community that if you or someone you know in Charlotte or North Ferrisburgh is facing utility shut-off or an unexpected hardship, help is available. All requests and grants are kept private and are available by simply calling 802-425-3252 or by filling out a request form. Request forms are available during food shelf open hours or on our website.

The food shelf is open for food distribution from 4-6 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. Our address is 403 Church Hill Road, in back of the Congregational Church in Charlotte. Masking is encouraged. For emergency food, please call John at 802-425-3130. If you cannot come to the food shelf due to COVID symptoms or seek more information about the food shelf, please call 802-425-3252. Monetary donations are appreciated, tax deductible and can be addressed to: Charlotte Food Shelf, Inc., P.O. Box 83, Charlotte VT 05445.