HINESBURG - Families in Shelburne, Charlotte and Hinesburg who need help to buy food and pay for heating fuel this winter will find the Emergency Food Shelves, the Hinesburg Community Resource Center, Chittenden Community Action and local pastors able to provide that help thanks to grants from Shelburne Charlotte Hinesburg Interfaith Projects (SCHIP).
The third cycle of grants for 2009 from the locally-based non-profit distributed $22,350 following discussion of grant applications at their October meeting. The SCHIP funds are raised by the sale of good used clothing and homegoods at the non-profit's SCHIP's Treasure Resale Shop on Shelburne Road in Shelburne village.
As the economy continued to pressure many residents of the three towns, SCHIP received requests for over $25,500 in grants in time for the Sept. 30 deadline, and chose the grants they would make based on guidelines including commitment to service to residents of the three towns as well as the track record of the organization making the request. Size of grants in the current round ranged from $250 to $5,000.
Grants to support programs that will benefit children were made to Shelburne Community School Quest for Excellence, and the Building Bright Futures of Chittenden County for their Welcome Baby Teas. The Hinesburg Artist Series received $900 to support a 2009 concert and provide free music workshops in Charlotte and Hinesburg schools.
Pastors' discretionary funds in Charlotte and Shelburne, received grants, typically to meet the needs of parishioners, and in one interesting case, to provide funds for a pastor to assist with the purchase of seed corn for a local farmer.
Before the current round of grant making, SCHIP had given a total of more than $180,000 since they first began making grants in April 2005. During those years, one-third of the grants have gone to food shelves and related agencies providing basics to those in need. Another large category is community projects which help communities at large such as funds for a thermal imaging device for Shelburne firefighters who share it with other towns, and auditorium enhancements at Champlain Valley Union High School.
The mission of SCHIP, which was formed in 2003 by ten faith communities in the three towns, is to work together to raise funds for grants to improve the lives of neighbors and strengthen the communities.