Tuesday, February 12, 2013 is Hunger Awareness Day and we’re scheduling 100 Meetings for Hunger with Vermont legislators. Last week, we posted details about how to get involved. This week, we have some resources for you to use.
VERMONT FOODBANK FAST FACTS (download the pdf here)
HUNGER IN VERMONT – FACT SHEET (download the pdf here)
The mission of the Vermont Foodbank is to gather and share quality food and nurture partnerships so that no one in Vermont will go hungry
- The Vermont Foodbank began in 1986 and immediately went to work fighting hunger from a 1,800 square food warehouse in Barre, distributing food throughout the state.
- Today the Vermont Foodbank, Vermont’s largest hunger relief organization, serves 270 food shelves, pantries, senior center, shelters, and after-school programs, from locations in Barre, Brattleboro, and Wolcott.
- In 2012, the Vermont Foodbank distributed more than 8 million pounds of food to its network partners around the state.
- The Foodbank is a member Feeding America – the national network of food banks and the country’s largest charitable hunger-relief organization.
More than 88,000 Vermonters live in poverty (2010)
12.8% of Vermont households or 88,000 individuals are food insecure (2009-2011 average)
5.4% of Vermont households are food insecure with hunger (2009-2011 average)
HOW MANY CLIENTS RECEIVE EMERGENCY FOOD FROM THE VERMONT FOODBANK?
- The Vermont Foodbank provides food for as many as 86,000 different people annually.
- Approximately 8,200 different people receive assistance in any given week.
WHO RECEIVES EMERGENCY FOOD ASSISTANCE?
- 33% of the members of households served by the Vermont Foodbank are children under 18 years old
- 36% of households include at least one employed adult
MANY CLIENTS REPORT HAVING TO CHOOSE BETWEEN FOOD AND OTHER NECESSITIES
- 42% of clients served by the Vermont Foodbank report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel
- 34% had to choose between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage
- 23% had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care
DO VERMONT FOODBANK CLIENTS ALSO RECEIVE FOOD ASSISTANCE FROM THE GOVERNMENT?
- 61% of client households served by the Vermont Foodbank are receiving 3SquaresVT (formerly the Food Stamp Program) benefits; however, it is likely that many more are eligible
- Among households with school-age children, 66% and 63% respectively, participate in the federal school lunch and school breakfast programs.
VOLUNTEERS ARE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT IN THE VERMONT FOODBANK NETWORK
- For the Vermont Foodbank, 91% of pantries, 91% of kitchens, and 59% of shelters use volunteers
- Many programs rely entirely on volunteers; 63% of pantry programs and 28% of kitchens have no paid staff at all
WHAT KINDS OF ORGANIZATIONS OPERATE EMERGENCY FOOD PROGRAMS IN VERMONT?
- 40% of pantries, 30% of kitchens, and 11% of shelters are run by faith based agencies affiliated with churches, mosques, synagogues, and other religious organizations.
IDEAS FOR SUCCESSFUL SITE VISITS (download the pdf here)
Below are some topics for discussion when meeting with your elected official:
- Educate about the many factors that can cause someone to need food assistance. Share stories of clients who have recently lost a job, had their hours cut back at work, experienced a family or medical emergency, or faced unexpected issues with housing or transportation. Dispel the idea that people who need food assistance just aren’t trying hard enough.
- Discuss the scope of hunger in Vermont. Share statistics and figures from the Fact Sheet with your legislator in order to show the scope of the charitable food system in Vermont.
- Emphasize the nutritional quality of snacks, meals, and groceries provided through nutrition programs, and specifically through your program, including federal commodities from TEFAP and CSFP. Make sure to underscore the challenge that low-income families face in providing a nutritious diet with limited resources.
- Demonstrate the diversity of people struggling with hunger. Speak to the clients that you serve, such as seniors, two-parent households, or veterans.
- Show how your program/s is helping participants move to self-sufficiency, for example how because they have food for their families, a participant was able to enroll in a job training program or pay the rent.
- Discuss your program’s specific challenges. Do you struggle to retain volunteers, is your physical space too small, do you need more food? This is important information to share with legislators. And be sure to articulate what a community without your services would look like.
The Vermont Foodbank will have a table set up in the Card Room of the Vermont Statehouse from 8 am-4 pm. If you’d like to participate with us, please schedule meetings with your elected officials in advance. Find contact information for your Representatives by clicking here and for your Senators by clicking here. All you need to do is contact the legislators in your district and tell them you’d like to schedule a meeting on Hunger Awareness Day (February 12th) to talk about hunger in Vermont. We’ll have the talking points and fact sheets from this blog post available for you at our table. We would also be happy to answer any questions you might have about scheduling meetings or how to approach your legislators. We’ll also have “Hunger Exists Here” buttons and Vermont Foodbank buttons that you can wear and give to your elected officials.
If you plan on meeting with your legislators, please let us know! Contact Judy Stermer, Vermont Foodbank Director of Communications and Public Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.802.477.4108. We’re asking Vermont Foodbank board members, staff, volunteers, network partners, donors and everyone touched by hunger to make 100 Meetings for Hunger on Hunger Awareness Day.