In the spring of 2013, the Foodshelf partnered with Putney Family Services to create a Family Food Bag program serving 6 families (13 children), sending home a back pack filled with food for a family for the weekend. This program continues today, providing food for the weekend, serving between 5 and 10 families (50–55 people), primarily those without transportation to access the Foodshelf. Many of our volunteers for this program are from the Outreach Team at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Brattleboro, coming to Putney weekly to assemble the bags of food that go home with the students on the bus Fridays.
As an organization supported entirely by donations, we write grants to help us afford what we need. We have been awarded the Agnes M. Lindsay grant twice for refrigerators and freezers. We have used three Vermont Fresh grants to help us deal with fresh produce coming into the Foodshelf. We have built produce display racks with storage, bought rolling bins and attained a mobile kitchen. We promote healthy eating! We run monthly Food Demos the last Saturday of the month, showcasing how to prepare in simple ways whatever produce we have in abundance. Anyone in the community is welcome to come, discuss, taste-test, or even run our food demos!
In partnership with the Vermont Foodbank, we run a Food Drop on the fourth Thursday of every month, reaching some of those who cannot make it to the Foodshelf. Fresh produce and some nonperishables are unloaded and distributed at Putney Meadows. About 40 households are served with minimal overlap with Foodshelf recipients. As with the Foodshelf open hours, the Food Drop is open to all, not just Putney residents.
We are an active member of the Healthy Harvest Network. We distribute locally grown fresh foods and donations to our 7 area food shelves. This is a powerful partnership — food gets delivered weekly. We share our food when we have too much, we learn from one another, and we support one another.