September is national Hunger Action Month. According to the Vermont Foodbank, one in four people in Vermont struggles with hunger.
On Wednesday, September 26, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., rain or shine, the Putney Foodshelf, a non-profit organization that provides supplemental healthy food for area people in need, seeks to Top the Truck.
This year again the truck will be parked in the Tavern parking lot between the Gleanery Restaurant and the Putney Town Hall. The goal is to fill the truck with bags of healthful, non-perishable foods. Volunteers will meet cars in the parking lot to take donations. Credit card, check, and cash contributions will be accepted at the truck and also online at putneyfoodshelf.org. The website now accepts recurring donations, and the Foodshelf encourages this as a supportive way of giving.
Sponsors of this, the fifth annual Top the Truck food drive, are Basketville and Soundview Paper Company.
Preferred non-perishable items include canned foods of all kinds (tuna fish, fruits, vegetables, meats, soups and chili), cereals, pastas and pasta sauce, peanut butter, boxed meals (macaroni & cheese, hamburger helper), and rice. The Putney Co-op is offering the opportunity to shoppers to buy cases of food at cost for the Top the Truck event. Information will be at the store.
New this year, the Putney Foodshelf has opened the Food4Kids program at Putney Central School. This program intends to empower children to meet their own nutritional needs and to make sure they have access to the food they need to thrive. Future plans include nutrition education, such as reading food labels and ingredients; cooking skills and meal planning; and food exploration.
Food4Kids is free and open to all students at PCS. Every Thursday students have the opportunity to select food, at no cost, to bring home. Donations will help support this program.
The Putney Foodshelf counts on donations of food to help those who are struggling to feed their families. In 2017, the Putney Foodshelf distributed 63,000 pounds of food to 6,374 people (2,048 of them children). This number represents a total of 75 +/- unduplicated households.
An additional 19,729 pounds of food was distributed in partnership with the Vermont Foodbank through the monthly food drop at Putney Meadows on the fourth Thursday of every month from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. This food drop includes primarily fresh produce and is aimed at helping those who can’t get to the Foodshelf. People should bring their own bags.
The Putney Foodshelf is open twice a week at its location in the Putney Community Center (side ramp entrance): Tuesday evenings from 6 to 7 p.m. and Saturday mornings from 9 to 10 a.m. Other Putney Foodshelf programs include occasional food demonstrations which feature available fresh produce. Teaching people how to prepare healthy foods easily and simply encourages healthy eating.
Putney Foodshelf is also one of seven area food pantries that support one another in accessing and distributing healthy food, including local produce, by participating in the Healthy Harvest Network program.
A 501(c)(3) organization, the Putney Foodshelf relies on volunteers and donations to fulfill its mission.