On average the Vermont Foodbank provides approximately two-thirds of the food available through food shelves and pantries in our network of community-based organizations. And less food available at the Foodbank often means less food available at food shelves and soup kitchens in Burlington, Brattleboro, Rutland, St. Johnsbury and hundreds of communities throughout Vermont.
In short, we at the Foodbank were concerned. Our partners, in every corner of the state, were sending reports of 25 percent and 30 percent increases in the number of families asking for help. And we were running short.
The charitable food system in Vermont and throughout the nation relies almost entirely on the support and generosity of individuals, businesses and private-sector foundations. The charitable food system is a complement , not a replacement , to the government's safety net for low-income people. Our work complements school meal programs, food stamps and WIC.
These programs are the first-line of defense against hunger. The Foodbank and its network partners are the last line of defense. We're there when a family's food stamps run out before the end of the month. We're there when children cease to get a school lunch during summer months. And we're there when a senior who is struggling to pay the bills on a fixed income needs a hot meal. As Foodbank Board member George Schenk once said, "Hunger hurts — the Foodbank helps."
Because of you and thousands of people like you in Vermont, out-of-state and even overseas, tens of thousands of needy Vermont households will have the hand up they need this holiday season. The Foodbank asked for your help and you answered the call.
Food drives have sprung up in nearly every community of the state , at grocery stores, gas stations, banks, churches and synagogues, state office buildings and more , the generous and caring nature of Vermonters has shined through this winter.
We all know winter in Vermont can be beautiful, but it can also be hard when you're too old or sick to shovel your drive or if you only have a few bucks to your name and you need to buy gas to get to work. It can be even harder when your cupboards are bare and the kids are hungry. This week, an estimated 14,500 Vermonters will get food assistance from one of our local partners in the state. You have helped make sure that these parents and seniors will be greeted with warmth and understanding when they visit a local food shelf. They will leave with food and hope.
Because of your help, three more semi-truck loads of food , the equivalent of more than 66,000 meals — have been distributed in the last five weeks alone. Trucks have crisscrossed the state picking up and delivering food to community agencies in every county in our state. Your support in donations of food, funds and time has been a tangible sign of the compassion Vermonters have for one another. It is hope offered during the coldest and darkest time of the year.
On behalf of the Foodbank staff, the nearly 300 local Foodbank network partners, and most importantly the more than 66,000 low-income Vermonters we serve , thank you for answering the call!
May you and yours have a blessed holiday season. – less–ZoomInfo