By Cassie Horner
Special To The Standard
Three rousing cheers for the Spectrum Teen Center participants for sponsoring a drive for the food shelf Saturday that, thanks to the generosity of the community and travelers, had the satisfaction of seeing the trailer in Mac’s Market parking lot fill up with food. The bounty included everything from pasta sauce and peanut butter to a shopping cart full of turkeys (for the Thanksgiving Project) and monetary donations. We are very grateful to the students, other volunteers, the many donors, and Mac’s for all of their support.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better day or nicer weather,” observed Joni Kennedy, coordinator of Spectrum Teen with Heather Rubenstein. “It was heartwarming to see the generosity. One person told us, â€˜I love that you guys do this. People want to donate or drop off food at the food shelf but thinking and actually getting down there are two different things when people are busy. You’re set up here at Mac’s and it makes it so convenient.’” Kennedy added, “The Spectrum kids were great. They’re an outstanding group of young people and worked hard. It’s a great experience for them.”
The students helping out were Ainsley Wilding, Elena Santos, Indi Bjornsson, Ken Hendricks, Evan Sawyer, Stephanie Stanglin and Tabetha Coleman. The trailer was borrowed from Devon Rainey, and at the end of the day, he and his friend Vern Doyle arrived to help unload all of the groceries at the food shelf.
The Thanksgiving Project day is almost upon us. About 95 boxes (15 more than last year), each with a complete holiday meal – turkey, fixings and homemade pies – will be distributed to our guests on Saturday November 20. At this point, we are asking the community for donations of cash to help us cover any last-minute purchases of food. We are grateful for all of the local support to make this annual event a reality.
This fall, the food shelf tried a new pilot program offered by the Vermont Food Bank, of which we are a member. Known by the acronym TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families), it enabled us to order 39 cases of a variety of foodstuffs that were delivered to us for distribution to Vermont families who use food stamps and have children 18 and under. Eighteen families participated. The stipulation by the Food Bank was that all of the food had to be given out by September 30, and people who qualified could take as much as they could use. “I think it was a nice boost for our guests,” said food shelf board member Bev Regan, who organized the program in Woodstock. “Someone asked me if I would do this again and I said yes, definitely. Once you participate in a program like this and figure out the logistics, the second time will be a snap. All in all, I think it was a success.
TANF helped us keep up with need in the month of September. The numbers of guests continues to increase every month, including new families. The stats for September were 116 visits by guests, feeding 510 “stomaches.” We were closed Labor Day, which may have lowered our total. These figures represent 42.5 people we are feeding each day of the month.
The shopping list to stock the shelves includes tuna fish, peanut butter, hearty soups and stews, cereal (hot and cold), pasta and pasta sauce, canned fruits and vegetables, coffee, baking goods, hand soap, toilet tissue and laundry detergent.
Donations of food and cash are always welcome. If you send a check, please mail it to Woodstock Community Food Shelf, PO Box 570, Woodstock, VT 05091. Food can be dropped off at the food shelf Monday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday until 3 p.m. and Saturday until noon. Lynne Davenport, owner of Yankee Exchange Consignment (the food shelf’s neighbor) will accept donations at her store during her business hours.
Food can also be dropped off at locations around Woodstock including Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church, the Christian Science Church (when the flag is out), the Congregational Church, Lake Sunapee Bank, the Unitarian Universalist Church, and St. James Episcopal Church. Food can also be dropped off at Teago Store in Pomfret. To contact the food shelf, call (802) 457-1185.
By Cassie Horner