A plan to establish a much-needed food shelf in the state’s second-largest city is gaining traction, and a home.
Organizer Patrick Leduc said Monday that the organizing group has found a 1,200 square foot home for the food shelf at 356 Dorset St. next to the Champlain Oil building. He said they are very close to signing a lease agreement with building owner Brian Cairns.
The faith-based group of community leaders that started the food shelf plan have also formed a 501c3 or nonprofit business called Faith Influenced Leaders LLC, Leduc said.
The idea came out of breakfast meetings the group held at Trader Duke’s, now Duke’s Public House.
The group of eight civically and faith-minded community members meet and discuss their roles and the needs of South Burlington, and how they can help their neighbors. Eight months ago, the idea came up and the group pursued it.
After months of organizational meetings and outreach, Leduc said the group has also secured shelving and volunteers, and have toured food shelves in Williston, Hinesburg and Essex to learn and review policies and procedures.
“They’ve been very generous in sharing what they do,” Leduc said, “like where they get their food, how they organize the space, the communities they serve, and operational information like budgets, policies and procedures, as well as training information for volunteers.”
Towns and cities all over Vermont have food shelves, non-profit organizations that collect and provide canned goods, paper products, and even fresh fruit and vegetables for individuals and families in need with food insecurity. The food shelves occupy church basements, former storefronts and other available spaces on Main Streets all over the state.
Leduc said the group reached out to leaders in the South Burlington faith community during the planning process.
The South Burlington City Council voted in December to give the future food shelf $2,000 toward start-up costs. Leduc said a few others have donated money as well.
The next step is outreach to residents who would likely use the food shelf, and figure out operating costs. Leduc said he can’t say quite yet when the food shelf would be up and running.
“We’re definitely seeing a light at the end of the tunnel,” Leduc said.
To volunteer or donate to the South Burlington Food Shelf, contact Patrick Leduc at 802-598-4246 or email email@example.com.