Letters to the Editor (6/25/09)

June 25, 2009

Support the Williston Food Shelf

This Fourth of July, many Williston residents will commemorate our independence by watching the parade, then barbecuing with neighbors and friends. Much that we take for granted is becoming impossible for a rapidly increasing number of families in our current economic climate. The over 100 volunteers who staff the Williston Community Food Shelf are asking for your support this Fourth to ensure those in need will always have some place to turn.

During the parade, we will have a fire engine or other vehicle flanked by red-shirted volunteers accepting donations of money or food. Food items we need are pasta, pasta sauce, peanut butter and jelly, but our most pressing need is financial to meet our annual expenses. Volunteers will carry donation buckets; please step forward as they pass to offer donations.

Opened in November 2008, our initial goal was to feed 35 families. We fed 76 in the first month and 110 in May. The dramatic increase in working families, unemployed and disabled visiting us has presented a challenge to continue at current levels. We also assist the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf in Burlington, Vermont Respite House and Joint Urban Ministry Project, and we fill the summer void as our schools have closed, supporting the Summer Program for Kids, in which each child receives 10 meals per week.

Our monthly food budget is $1,000, yet we spent $1,600 in May. We also recently incurred a monthly rental fee of $250, while philanthropic donations have decreased.

Our longer-range goals include installing telephone and Internet service, increasing the type and quantity of food available and, lastly, we hope to partner with Williston businesses and individuals willing to adopt the Food Shelf. Perhaps your business would join us by sponsoring an annual month or half a month of food purchases, rent or telephone and Internet service. Interested organizations, individuals or families should contact Ron Stankevich at 879-7092 or stop by the Food Shelf, located on Connor Way, between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Thursday or Saturday.

Have a safe and happy Fourth and thank you for your generosity during the parade.

Williston Community Food Shelf Board