By Mara Brooks, Editor
The Food Shelf is searching for a new location.
At the Nov. 22 regular Selectboard meeting, Charlotte Food Shelf Secretary Peggy Sharpe informed the town that the food shelf will be moving from its current spot at the Charlotte Congregational Church sometime next year. Sharpe asked the Selectboard members to “keep your ears to the ground” for any locations that might be a good fit for nonprofit.
“We need about a thousand square feet, and it needs to be handicap accessible, and we need to have better delivery ability than what we have now,” Sharpe said.
Sharpe explained that although the Congregational Church has been “incredibly generous” in sharing its space with the charity, the arrangement has become less than ideal for both parties.
“Frankly, we really need to find something that works better for volunteers and for the people that we’re serving,” she said.
Sharpe said she did not know whether the food shelf’s next location would be temporary or permanent.
“It depends on what we find, it depends on what people might be willing to donate, it depends on a lot of things,” she said.
Sharpe also asked the Selectboard to consider making a “shift” in its own relationship to the food shelf.
“It’s not like we’ve ever felt like we weren’t supported by the town, it’s just that we’ve never reached out to try to do anything a little more formal in terms of a relationship,” she said.
She asked the board to consider including the food shelf on the town’s website and allowing it hold meetings in Town Hall.
“We would like to be able to have meetings in Town Hall. We have done it before, it’s just that we’ve never asked regularly,” Sharpe said. “So, it’s just a little shift in our relationship that we’re looking for.”
Sharpe added that the food shelf is currently in need of a new stainless-steel refrigerator but assured the board that she was “not here to ask for money.”
“I think we all feel that if we did some fundraising in town, we would probably be able to raise the money for [the refrigerator], it’s probably going to be around eight thousand dollars,” Sharpe said.
What she really wanted from the Selectboard, Sharpe said, was to get the food shelf on the town’s “radar”. She said she hoped the food shelf and the Selectboard could “collaborate” to increase outreach to those in need and to find the charity a suitable new location.
Selectboard Chair Jim Faulkner told Sharpe her requests would require a bigger discussion.
“I think what we need to do is have another conversation that’s a little bit more in depth on your goals and necessary housing and so forth,” Faulkner said. “Tonight, I think all we really wanted to do is get you on the radar, which we have now.”
Faulkner told Sharpe that after the town “gets through this budget season” the Selectboard could meet with her again “to discuss how else we can help you.”
There was no further discussion on the topic and no date was set for the follow up meeting with Sharpe.