The program is called Feed Your Mind, Feed A Family, and that is exactly what NYVT Media and, in particular, the Granville Sentinel, Whitehall Times and Lakes Region FreePress were doing on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
In conjunction with several area sponsors and our readers, 100 turkey dinners were handed out to the Whitehall Food Pantry, Salem Ecumenical Food Pantry, Leap Emergency Food Shelf of Fort Edward/Hudson Falls, Granville Community Food Pantry, the Pawlet Community Church Food Pantry, Fair Haven Concerned and the Poultney Food Shelf.
Each meal contained a 10-12-pound turkey, two cans of corn, a box of stuffing, one bag of potatoes, one can of cranberry sauce, a 12-pack of rolls and a liter of soda.
The event was organized primarily by NYVT’s advertising director Julie Fedler and Capital Region Independent Media publisher Warren Dews, with help from many other members of the NYVT family.
Fedler said: “Our first year organizing Feed Your Mind, Feed A Family was quite successful and very rewarding. With the help of many local businesses, we were able to feed 75 local families through five area food pantries. Knowing we were able to set a few minds at ease this holiday season is very humbling.”
The program will continue through Dec. 17, with each new subscription helping to fund the program.
Why do this?
Because the numbers make you step back and think: “How can we help?”
One in nine people, and more troubling, one in six children faces hunger issues each day in New York and Vermont. 32.4% of households receiving SNAP benefits have children. Despite their best attempts, the many charitable programs are unable to fully support those facing hunger each day.
The food pantries supported were enthusiastic recipients.
Pat Norton of the Whitehall Food Pantry said: “What a wonderful thing. The need is extraordinary this year, and a little extra food really helps out.”
Corin Griffen of the Leap Emergency Food Shelf added, “This means we will be able to feed another 10 families this year.”
“We are seeing a significant increase in the number of people needing help with heat and food this year. These turkey dinners help us feed our community and are greatly appreciated,” said Judy Warner of the Granville Community Food Pantry.
“We continue to see an increase in demand and plan to feed about 60 families this Thanksgiving. These dinners go a long way to help fill that demand,” said Julie Kasuba of the Salem Ecumenical Food Pantry.
Bruce Holt of Fair Haven Concerned said: “This is just fantastic for the neighborhood. The way things are this year, every little bit is greatly appreciated.”
And Anna Smith of the Poultney Food Shelf commented: “This is more help for us than you can imagine. We will probably hand out meals to about 50 people this year, a number that continues to grow in our 20-plus years of doing so.”
The main sponsors of the giveaway in New York were Barlow Electric in Granville and Maplewood Ice in Whitehall. The main sponsor of the giveaway in Vermont was Realty One Group Lakes and Homes based in Poultney and Castleton. Nancy Liberatore is the owner and realtor and a generous person to boot. She was the recipient of a $500 award from the Vermont Realtors Association and decided the best thing to do with the money was to split it between Fair Haven Concerned and the Poultney Food Shelf, handing each a $250 check to purchase more needed items for their clientele.
NYVT Media also thanks Price Chopper Supermarket in Granville and Shaw’s Supermarket in Fair Haven for hosting and lending assistance to the effort.
In summary, NYVT president/publisher Mark Vinciguerra may have said it best: “We serve our communities by providing essential journalism on a daily basis, and this is a physical manifestation of that service. We are proud to be a major connector in the areas we serve.”
Other primary sponsors of the program are Mary P. Hollister CPA, PC., Fred’s Granville Pharmacy and the Lake Champlain Coal Company.