The Putney Foodshelf is happy to report that we have finally (!) received notification of our own nonprofit status from the IRS! While this does not affect the work we have been doing or how we have been doing it, it does give us the opportunity to dream and plan for our future.
When the Foodshelf first began in 2005 at the Genesis Church of the Brethren, it had its 501(c)(3) status through the church. When the church closed, the Foodshelf moved to the Putney Community Center in 2009; that board graciously allowed us to “umbrella” under their tax exempt status and became our fiscal agent. Any donations made to the Foodshelf have always been tax-deductible and legal.
The current group of volunteers recognized that we did not have the same mission as the Community Center and decided that it would be wise to have our own nonprofit status. We began organizing our infrastructure and created a subcommittee to begin the nonprofit status filing work. Emily Zervas, Kelli Moran, Annik Paul, and Susan Kochinskas met often to create bylaws and begin the paperwork required for filing for non profit status. John Barnett volunteered critical legal support. We filed in August of 2013 and received word in late July, 2014 that we had been awarded nonprofit status.
Our day-to-day operations of the Foodshelf will not change — we are still open twice a week (Tuesdays 6–7pm and Saturdays 9–10am) for anyone in need of supplemental food. We don’t qualify need — if you walk in the doors, you receive food. Everyone is welcome. No names or records of any kind are needed, and we only ask for the number of people in each household and its zip code so we can document our client need.
We run food demos a couple of times a month at the Putney Community Center where we are located, featuring produce when available in the Foodshelf. We also provide the recipe for preparing it.
The Foodshelf also runs a special Family Food Bag program at Putney Central School, currently sending a bag of groceries home on Fridays year-round to help 10 struggling families. We have a dedicated group of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church Outreach volunteers helping us with this project. Our program is modeled after the Vermont Foodbank’s Backpack program that serves students in several Brattleboro area schools. Our variation of this program provides weekend food for the entire family, not just the student.
We have a dedicated group of volunteers who put in anywhere from an hour a month to 5–10 hours a week and generous community members who donate fresh produce and canned goods to supplement what we can get from the Vermont Foodbank. We always need help with outreach to individuals and families who could use some supplemental food. If you know of anyone with hunger insecurity, please bring them to the Foodshelf! We can only help those who come to our open doors.
If you have questions we can be reached through Putney Family Services 387-2120 or by e-mail at PutneyFoodshelf@gmail.com.