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Vermont Foodbank’s Hunger Conference Impact Through Innovation comes on brink of urgent need for support as demand grows

For immediate release
May 4, 2011

Media Contact:
Judy Stermer, Vermont Foodbank
802-505-0699
[email protected]

Vermont Foodbank’s Hunger Conference Impact Through Innovation

Comes on Brink of Urgent Need for Support as Demand Grows

Advocates, experts, community leaders gather at conference to tackle growing problem of hunger in Vermont, with help from innovation and diversity expert, Dr. Steve Robbins

Barre, VT—As the Vermont Foodbank prepares for the annual hunger conference, demand is on the rise while resources struggle to keep pace. During the first quarter of the year, the Vermont Foodbank and its network of 280 food shelves, meal sites, senior centers, shelters and afterschool programs, have seen a 15-20% increase in demand for services. At the same time food and fund donations have lagged behind. “We are hearing from our partners around the state that they are struggling to feed families who are in need of food assistance,” said John Sayles, Vermont Foodbank CEO, “The Foodbank too is struggling to meet the needs of our network. We have seen a more than 400,000 pound decrease in federal commodity food as well as significantly slowed financial donations. This, coupled with increased demand has put extraordinary stress on the Foodbank and the work of service providers statewide.”

This year’s conference, held at the Sheraton Conference Center in Burlington on Tuesday, May 8th, will focus on expanding the conversation around hunger eradication. Attendees will have the rare opportunity to hear from Dr. Steve Robbins, nationally acclaimed for his work in the fields of innovation, inclusion, and diversity. Dr. Robbins will lead discussions throughout the day aimed at including diverse perspectives in an effort to find workable solutions to the complex issue of hunger in Vermont. Conference participants will learn not only about the true cost of hunger on individuals and communities, but also about how unconventional partnership are working to address hunger and reduce the impact of food insecurity in Vermont and across the country.

“There has never been a better time to gather Vermonters in an effort to tackle the issue of hunger,” said Sayles. “More than 14% of our population is food insecure—hungry. It is clear that we need a new approach to the issue of hunger. We need new thinkers around the table working with the charitable food community if we are going to end hunger in Vermont.”

According to a recent report by Feeding America, food insecure Vermonters see a $40 million food budget shortfall each year. This means that in order to ensure that Vermonters have enough to eat, more than 15 million meals need to be provided. “The charitable response to hunger cannot make up the meal gap in Vermont,” said Sayles, “We need the help of state government, business leaders, service providers and concerned citizens to reach our goal of ensuring that no one in Vermont goes hungry.”

Anyone interested in joining the conversation and attending the conference is asked to register before May 8. Registration fee includes lunch, keynote by Dr. Steve Robbins, and afternoon workshops. Registration is available online at www.vtfoodbank.org. Day of registration is also available.

When: 7:30 to 8:00AM—REGISTRATION

8:00 to 8:30AM—WELCOME

9:00 to 10:30AM—KEYKNOTE PRESENTATION

FOR PRESS: Q & A with Dr. Steve Robbins, John Sayles, and more than 200 service providers from around the state

10:30AM to 11:00AM—BREAK

9:00AM to 10:30PM—KEYNOTE SPEAKER

12:15PM to 1:30PM—BREAK and LUNCHEON

A detailed description of speakers and workshops is available online atwww.vtfoodbank.org

Where: Sheraton Conference Center

870 Williston Road

Burlington, VT 05403


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