Friday July 5, 2013

PUTNEY -- It has been a hard winter for the Putney Foodshelf recipients, though staffers continue to be encouraged by local donations and volunteers stepping up to help.

For example, the May 2013 Postal Carriers "Stamp Out Hunger drive" provided a boost of 500 pounds of canned goods. And recently the Dummerston Girls on the Run filled a car with canned goods for the foodshelf’s recipients.

The Foodshelf currently secures between 300 and 400 pounds of canned and boxed goods as well as fresh produce, eggs, yogurt, and meat each week to keep its shelves stocked. Sources include the Vermont Foodbank, area schools, farmers, and local donors, all helping to feed the more than 35 families depending on the foodshelf for food.

The Putney Foodshelf recently partnered with Putney Family Services to provide backpacks loaded with weekend food for 13 children at Putney Central School. The foodshelf modeled its Family Food Bag program after the Vermont Foodbank’s Backpack Program. Participants receive breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack food so that their weekends are not without food. Food insecurity continues to be a huge issue for many Vermont families, as well as for the nearly two dozen homeless people in Putney.

The foodshelf continually tries to reach out to people who could use some extra food. If you know of someone who could use food to make ends meet, tell them about the Foodshelf. Or give them a ride down, Tuesdays between 6 and 7 p.m. and Saturdays between 9 and 10 a.m. There are volunteers on hand to help newcomers through the easy process of filling a couple of bags of food for the week.

Participants can remain anonymous, but the foodshelf needs to know how many people are in each family, so it can track data and make sure everyone gets enough food.

The foodshelf is a small group of committed volunteers and would welcome more help. It has monthly board meetings, and has lots of little jobs that add up to a well-run organization: Picking up food, sorting/stocking shelves, staffing open hours, and delivering Family Food Bags are just some of the things that need to be done each week.

The Putney Foodshelf is located at the Putney Community Center (10 Christian Square -- ramp side entrance).

For more information, call 802-387-2120.