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Williston Food Shelf surpasses $10,000 goal

Observer staff

A mysterious and incredibly generous donor will be ponying up $10,000 for the Williston Community Food Shelf, as the organization celebrates a miraculous May fundraiser with a matched-raised amount of $10,000 that came faster than expected.

The donor, who was once in a situation where he had relied on food shelves to get by and who now is in the ranks of volunteers at the Food Shelf, posed a challenge in late April: “Raise $10K in one month, and I’ll match that.”

When the fundraising effort kicked off in early May, the board members at WCFS had no idea how much support they would get. By around May 23, they’d met their goal, board member Jen Daudelin told the Observer.

“It was so quick and so rapid that we were blown away,” Daudelin said, about how immediate the response to local news stories, including one in the Observer, was. “I opened up the mail and was like, ‘Oh my God, there’s a $1,000 check here!’ so we had that, and we had people donate $10. And we are so grateful for it,” she said.

“We’re blown away by the generous support that’s been shown,” added Daudelin, speaking on behalf of the board. “This money will continue to help serve our neighbors through the summer months when donations significantly drop off, but the need is still very great because kids are out of school,”

The WCFS serves four communities, Williston, Essex, St. George and Richmond, and is run entirely by volunteer staff. Monetary donations go a long way to keeping the rent paid, and the lights on, as well as helping to keep the shelves flush with the necessary staples that families in need of food will often rely on.

Certain staples, like canned tuna, peanut butter, pasta and spaghetti sauce will always be needed, and aren’t always coming in from the collections, Daudelin said. “So if people aren’t donating a certain item and that’s something that we need, we can turn around and buy it from a food bank,” she said. 

Along with the fundraising drive, the Williston Community Food Shelf ran a raffle of prizes donated by local businesses. The winners are listed below.

Peter & Sharon Luke, Williston:  Produce pass, Adams Apple Orchard & Farm Market

Beth Wilson, Williston: Hanging basket, Paquette Full of Posies

Darby Mayville, Essex Junction: $30 gift card to Chef’s Corner