Lawyers Fighting Hunger, a guest blog post by VT Attorney General T.J. Donovan
Studies by the Vermont Foodbank and Feeding America show that one in four Vermonters turn to food shelves and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families. That’s around 153,000 of our neighbors, community members, and friends, including an estimated 33,900 children and 26,010 elder Vermonters.
In light of these sobering statistics, I am very happy to announce the kick-off of the “2nd Annual Lawyers Fighting Hunger Food Drive.” I am once again calling on Vermont’s legal community to come through to help Vermonters who need it most.
Being a lawyer and practicing law in Vermont has always been something I viewed as a privilege. As a member of Vermont’s legal community, I firmly believe that it is our shared duty to help those in need when we can. That is why, in my first year as Vermont’s Attorney General, I partnered with the Vermont Foodbank and the Vermont Bar Association to hold the first-ever “Lawyers Fighting Hunger Food Drive” last fall.
The first-ever event was a success. Thirty-two of Vermont’s law firms and offices signed up to participate. In two weeks, Vermont lawyers raised over $15,000 and collected 4,400 food items that went directly to the Vermont Foodbank to help those who need it most.
But even with the success of our event, the problem of hunger persists in Vermont. Here’s the reality: every day, Vermonters are being forced to make tough choices to keep food on the table – choosing between paying for food or paying for necessary living expenses like housing, transportation and utilities. A staggering 71% of Vermont Foodbank clients report purchasing inexpensive or unhealthy food because they could not afford more healthy food options. Many of these households have no member with health insurance of any kind and 56% of Vermont Foodbank clients reported choosing between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care at least once in the past 12 months.
The 2nd Annual Lawyers Fighting Hunger Food Drive will run from September 10th through 21st. September is Hunger Action Month in Vermont. This year, we will again have a friendly competition to recognize the law firms and offices that raise the highest totals of food and/or money during the event.
If you are a Vermont lawyer or part of Vermont’s legal community, I hope that you will join my Office, the Vermont Foodbank and Vermont Bar Association in taking part in this year’s event. If you’ve already signed up – thank you! If you haven’t yet signed up and want to, please e-mail Doug.Wemple@partner.vermont.gov before September 7th. And I encourage everyone to follow along on social media at #VtLegalFoodDrive or by visiting the Attorney General’s Office on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Let’s make the 2nd Annual Lawyers Fighting Hunger Food Drive a success, so that together we can help make sure that no one in our state goes hungry.
Vermont Attorney General