SHELBURNEAccording to Val Martel, coordinator for the Shelburne Foodshelf, the shelves that hold nonperishable foods at the Shelburne Town Center arent the only thing suffering from lack of support. Along with Governor Jim Douglas, Martel is very concerned with the proposed cuts to funding for state fuel-assistance programs.
We need to find a way to appeal for funding, said Martel. Were coming into winter and we need additional funds for our fuel-assistance program at the Shelburne Foodshelf.
Earlier in September, Douglas announced to the state the he was upset that fuel-assistance programs were losing funding, and that it was the low-income households that were suffering the most from the economic drawbacks.
If you are working forty to forty-five hours a week at $10 an hour, and then you have a spouse and two kids to support, where does that leave money in your budget to pay for the fuel that heats your home? asked Martel.
The Foodshelf encourages families to use their food stamps on perishable foods items, and then to come to the Town Center to obtain nonperishable canned and dried goods.
Then, said Martel, the agreement is that if they can afford to pay it, the pick up a quarter to half of the fuel bill, and our organization will pick up the rest.
We try to do everything we possibly can because our caseload is smaller than in the bigger cities, she added.
Martel said that in years past, the people of Shelburne and the surrounding areas have always answered the call to help the Foodshelf when needed, and that she hopes people will once again step up and rescue the organization in this time of need.
Although not as pressing as the fuel assistance dilemma, the actual shelves are becoming increasingly bare, and Martel said the she hopes the public will also continue to donate their extra cans and boxes of non-perishable foods.
Martel has organized the combined effort to offer assistance to those in need for nearly two decades. The Foodshelf project is a collaborative effort between the Methodist, Episcopal and Catholic Churches.
Those who wish to donate money to the fuel assistance program can send checks to the Shelburne Town Clerk, Colleen Haag, at P.O. Box 88, or to Val Martel at P.O. Box 692, Burlington, VT 05402.
If word could get out I know Shelburne would come through, said Martel.
Martel, who is 70 and past retirement age, said she could never turn her back on people in need, not while people are hurting.
The Food Shelf is accessible through the big door on the very back of the Shelburne Town Center.