There’s lots of help for those impacted by flooding

In the wake of severe flooding and seemingly unrelenting rain, Vermonters continue to pull together and support one another. The Vermont Foodbank reports that all its deliveries are back to their normal schedule and reminds the community that flood-relief information, including extra assistance accessing or covering the cost of food, is available on the website.

The Charlotte Food Shelf and Assistance, which also serves North Ferrisburgh, is an all-volunteer organization which receives most of its donations during the winter holiday season. In this summer of need, we thank all those whose donations support our mission of neighbors helping neighbors.

We are so grateful for generous donations from the Patrick Foundation made in memory of Robert Fleming and Janet Howe Patrick; the Weezie Foundation; and the Windham Foundation on behalf of Karen D. Bruett, William H. Bruett and Ann Hall in memory of Anne Hancock.

The donations of fresh produce from Frog Song Farm and Head over Fields Farm are appreciated, as are the nonperishables provided by Livi Neilson and Mavis Carr, rising eighth graders who did a car wash fundraiser as part of a wellness service project to benefit the food shelf.

Arlene Marks’ donation of lovely Vermont Teddy Bears have also been a source of delight.

The summer is typically a time of need for some school-age children who normally receive lunches during school while it is in session. The Charlotte Congregational Church has been distributing children’s lunches to the Charlotte General Store (formerly Spear’s), the Little Free Pantry and the library. The Little Free Pantry is in very active use, led by the Congregational Church and supported by donations from church and community members and the food shelf, which has added a bread basket and a cooler for fresh produce.

The Champlain Valley School District has told the food shelf that there is a cash benefit card coming to families this summer of $120. All students in our schools are entitled to this card. If you choose not to use this card for your own family, they encourage you to use it to purchase food for donation, as unused benefits will be returned to the federal government.

For families who have previously received a pandemic electronic benefit transfer (often referred to as P-EBT) card or receive 3SquaresVT, the summer benefit will be added to your existing card by early August. If you need a replacement card, please call 800-479-6151, option 7.

Those who have never received a pandemic electronic benefit transfer card for any children in their household will receive a new card by early August which will require activation with instructions to be supplied by a separate letter. The card and the instruction letter will be mailed by the Vermont Department of Children and Families. More information about pandemic electronic benefits.

The Champlain Valley School District has also provided the food shelf with other information about more resources for households facing summertime food insecurity. They note that open summer meal sites are listed at the USDA Meal Finder, or can be found by calling 2-1-1 or by texting FOOD to 304-304. In addition, the “Stretch Your Budget with Vermont Food Programs” is also a valuable one-page resource.

In August, families served by the food shelf are encouraged to provide current sizes for those children who will be outfitted by the annual fall and winter clothing drive led by Alicia Cooper of the Charlotte Grange. Clothing will be collected in September for distribution in October.

If you can help with donations of produce, please call the food shelf. We thank those that grow for planting an extra row.

Those who wish to volunteer will be warmly welcomed, as many hands make light work. Please contact Peggy Sharpe if you are interested in volunteering.

For many years the Congregational Church has generously provided space to the food shelf in their basement. We are searching for a new home, hoping to find a first-floor space of about 600 square feet with room for parking and receiving 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 the 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, behind the Congregational Church in Charlotte. For emergency food, call John at 802-425-3130. If you cannot come to the food shelf due to COVID symptoms or seek further 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.