ENOSBURG FALLS — A driver here could pass the Enosburgh Food Shelf every day and not know it’s there.
No neon sign announces the place, just small, hand-painted lettering that blends in with the white of the Masonic Lodge unless a person walks right up to it. The food shelf is in the lodge’s basement, on the corner of Missisquoi Street, across from Lincoln Park and next to Champlain Chevrolet. If one relies on foot traffic to find the place, they would only have one day’s chance to find it, Thursdays, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
But the people who need it know it’s there.
As the food shelf’s volunteers prepared to close Thursday afternoon, they tallied the number of households they had served that day. The number of households, not just individuals, was 77.
Kathy Gaston runs the food shelf’s numbers. Gaston selected random months from the food shelf’s records to represent its average customer base.
It’s a wide base. The Enosburgh Food Shelf is open to anyone, regardless of residency.
“Different food shelves have different rules,” Gaston said, “but we did want to be the least exclusionary…
“We really literally serve anybody on the planet.”
Food shelf volunteers do verify customers’ residency, Gaston said, not for any purpose now, but just in case of funding shortages in the future. Volunteers also verify the number of individuals in a household to appropriately apportion food packages, but that’s it. Volunteers don’t look into customers’ income.
Nor do they judge customers’ spending of that income — whether they spent all their money on a Cadillac or a Mercedes, or spend more money feeding their various pets than they do themselves. Steve Wadsworth, who serves the food shelf’s governing board, has experienced both scenarios.
He said the point is making sure people have food. That’s it.
For more data concerning the food shelf, and information about volunteering, pick up a copy of this weekend’s Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition.