CLOV is Humbled!

By Jessica Buchanan

CLOV Customer Service

Tour of Chittenden Emergency Food ShelfFirst off, we would like to take an opportunity to thank each and everyone one of you who “liked” CLOV during the month of April. With your help (and Dwane’s promised out of pocket match!) Gail, Zara and I were able to deliver a check to Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf for $500! That is amazing!! We just wanted to share what a humbling experience it was for us to visit CEFS on Wednesday and meet not only employees but recipients. We were given a wonderful tour by Rob and Liz, who are two of the kindest people you could ever wish to meet. We were so truly taken aback by how they do so much for the community with so few resources that we wanted to share some of the information they gave us in hopes that if you’re looking for a way to give back to the community, you will choose them.

When you think of a food shelf, many thoughts probably come to mind. I assure you, many of the stereotypical ideas that people hold about visitors to the food shelf are simply unfounded, untrue and at the very least detrimental to organizations trying to help this growing part of the population. There are a variety of reasons a person might need assistance from a food shelf and I would imagine it takes a lot to swallow your pride and ask for help of that magnitude. From a young mother with no place to turn to an elderly resident who is unable to leave their house, hunger knows no bounds. It affects across races, ages, sexes, religions – there is no one immune to the dangers of hunger.

During the tour, we learned that CEFS is so much more than “just a food shelf.” They also have a soup kitchen where meals are served 7 days a week. They help their visitors train for and find jobs in order to better their situation. They hire employees with multi-cultural backgrounds in order to be able to communicate with visitors who are from all over the globe and speak more than 70 languages. They work out of a building that is very small and they feel the repercussions of this; especially during busy holiday times. They need a separate building to house offices and yet another to serve as a warehouse. Coordinating across three spaces is difficult to say the least. Regardless, CEFS helps thousands and thousands of people every year. After our tour, we felt like we wanted to do so much more, but weren’t sure how. So not only are we working on a relationship with them, we are asking for your continued support.

When I asked Rob after our tour what the best way to help was, he was a bit hesitant to respond. While they fight tooth and nail for government help to avoid using donor money for non-food items (their kitchen equipment and refrigerator units for example), they are still financially strapped when it comes to getting the food they need to stock the shelves. Between rising food prices and the gas prices that directly affect those costs, it’s becoming increasingly harder to keep up with demand. While they would never turn away a donation of your time or boxes full of food, what they really need now is cash. If we took the $500 we donated and purchased food with it, it would have only bought a fraction of what CEFS can purchase with the same money through their food banks. So please, if you feel inclined, get in touch with them and see how you can help. Seriously, anything helps. But help is what CEFS needs and we want to facilitate that in any way possible. Again, thank you to all who helped us make this Facebook campaign so successful. Liking our page is easy. Hunger is hard.

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