Today’s blog is written by Judy Stermer, Director of Communications and Public Affairs. Judy has worked for the Vermont Foodbank for 10 years and today, writes about Pack to Give Back. 

During the last few days, the Vermont Foodbank has been handing out food boxes and holiday meal fixings to our friends and neighbors in need. During this year’s Pack to Give Back, the Vermont Foodbank, along with nearly 100 volunteers packed and distributed food for Thanksgiving to 1,500 families in Rutland, Barre, and Brattleboro.

The event started on Wednesday, November 18th when students from Mill River Union High School came to the Foodbank’s Rutland Distribution Center and packed 1,500 boxes with Thanksgiving staples like stuffing, veggies, yams, potatoes, etc. Students from the National Honor Society at Mill River raised $5,000 as well, to provide holiday meals for members of their community in need.  It was so much fun to see their enthusiasm and pride for the work that they were doing. The learned about the Foodbank and how their funds were going to help provide hope this holiday season.

On Thursday and Friday, volunteers from Rutland Medical Center, Grace Church and helped hand out boxes in Rutland and Barre. Hundreds of families left with cars full of Thanksgiving staples, fresh produce, vouchers for a free gallon of milk, water, and more. More than once, I experienced men and women, young and old sharing their overwhelming gratitude.

I have worked for the Foodbank for 10 years, and last year a team of us came up with and executed Pack to Give Back in Barre. For me, it pumpkinswas an opportunity to do something that I rarely get to do. Most of my days are spent behind a computer screen. During Pack to Give Back, I get to work with different coworkers, volunteers and the people we serve. And I am reminded of why I do what I do. There are so many people  in our community who are really struggling. And the holidays, when we are all thinking about food and sharing a very traditional Thanksgiving feast with friends and family, many of our friends and neighbors are worrying. Worrying about how they are going to provide a turkey and all the fixing for their family. Worrying about how they will create a “normal” Thanksgiving for their children. Worrying about how they will provide a luxurious meal and still pay all the bills on time. Pack to Give Back is a way for us to help families who are worrying about food. It’s a way in which the Foodbank works to ease some of the stress that families are experiencing each and every day.