This is a guest blog post from Deb Krempecke, Manager of Lamoille Community Food Share, which is a Vermont Foodbank network partner. They recently received a grant from the Vermont Foodbank to purchase a new refrigerator and we asked them to tell us about the impact this would have on their community.

Lamoille Community Food Share, based in Morrisville, is pleased to have received a $500 grant from the Vermont Foodbank to help us purchase a new refrigerator. Our pantry is open six mornings a week and served 1,159 families in 2014. That number translates to 3,770 individuals including 2,369 adults and 1,448 children. We are community-supported and saw 4,017 visits last year which means we provided 4,017 shopping carts full of food to our neighbors in need.

We have always found it handy to have a cool space to keep the gleaned vegetables we receive year-round. The new refrigerator means we will also have additional space for donated product as well as the vegetables we anticipate from area gardeners as the summer months arrive. Recently, we were able to give those gardeners a hand by providing “Seeds to Feed” thanks to a donation of 200 seed packets from High Mowing Organic Seeds. Now we just need a little help from Mother Nature to get things growing!

Our pantry has benefited for years from donations of bakery products from our local Hannaford Supermarket and last year they added deli products. At the beginning of this year, we were offered produce items and, more recently, meat and dairy products. The purchase of a new refrigerator became a necessity and the grant from the Vermont Foodbank Special Needs Fund gave us a good start towards that purchase.

The donation of perishable products creates extra work for us but these are such beneficial offerings. Our part-time assistant manager needs to pick up and weigh the donations each morning. Volunteers then help us distribute the items to those who visit our pantry. Our collection of refrigerators and freezers were becoming overwhelmed but now we have enough space for everything.

In addition to these donations, we have also received an abundance of egg donations from neighbors such as Sanctuary Farm in Morrisville, because the chickens have been busy this year! This has allowed us to offer extra eggs which are an excellent source of fresh protein. Our new refrigerator will also provide extra space for community donations such as the casseroles we receive every month from the Feed Ministry of the Elmore United Methodist Church.

We’ve included a few photos, one of which show our new appliance proudly sporting a “Eat More Kale” sticker! The availability of vegetables year-round means our clients have a chance to try many varieties and kale is actually quite popular. We have also featured one of our loyal volunteers – the lovely Peg Demars – seen stocking our refrigerator with produce donations from Hannaford’s Supermarket. Also featured are members of the Feed Ministry and their monthly delivery of casseroles.

Thank you, Deb, for telling us more about your organization and the ways you serve your community!

Learn more about Lamoille Community Food Share here.