More People Turn to Food Shelves this Winter

By Kristen Tripodi

Published 04/24 2014 05:37AM

Updated 04/24 2014 06:45AM

DUXBURY, Vt. - The winter is tough for those already struggling - so for some it comes down to spending money to heat their home or to put food on the table. To help ease that burden more people in Duxbury Vermont turned to the Duxbury Elf Food Shelf for help.
Heather Taylor and her family rely on the Elf Shelf for food.

“It’s a big help,” said Taylor.

And she says this year hasn't been easy; with her husband in the hospital her family has been on a limited income.

“Without this place I don't think a lot of people would know where else to go,” said Taylor.

For the last decade people in Duxbury have relied on the Elf Shelf to make it through tough times.

“We are up to 178 families, and over 300 people that we feed,” said Ruth Haskins, who runs the Elf Shelf.

The Elf Shelf is supported by the Vermont Food Bank and private donations. Haskins says over the years more people have stopped by for help. But this winter the need was even greater.

“I think it's increased quite a bit. People have really had a difficult time; it’s been a very hard, long winter. And people have had to decide whether to buy fuel, or by food. And hopefully by coming here they didn't have to make that choice,” said Haskins.

And as the need increases so does the need for donations.

“Very, very rarely do we get what people consider necessities. Which are sugar, flour, toilet paper, tooth brushes, anything like that we really have to scavenge to get those things,” said Haskins.

Taylor says it’s nice to have a local food shelf close to home, with a familiar face. It helps in more ways than one.

“I try to stay local, saving gas money, as a lot of people are right now with the way gas prices are and the economy.  It’s hard,” said Taylor.

The items the Elf Shelf need most are fresh produce, breads, and toiletries (such as toilet paper, tissue, baby supplies, deodorant, etc).

The food shelf is open Wednesdays and Fridays from 8a.m. -10 a.m. Donations can be dropped off during those times, or the city clerk’s office above the food shelf accepts donations when the shelf is closed. Haskins says if anyone ever needs help when the Elf Shelf is closed, call 802-371-9906.

Monetary donations can be sent to the Duxbury Elf Shelf, PO Box 23, Waterbury, VT 05676.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.