December 5, 2005
By JOHANNA SORRENTINO Southern Vermont Bureau
SPRINGFIELD — The food shelf is being tapped more than ever this year but the community is responding to the need, said Springfield Family Center Director Deborah Luse.
Bryant Credit Union donated $1,500 to the food shelf recently, which will be used immediately to purchase nonperishable food items for low-income families.
"We heard from one of our directors that the food shelf is low in supplies. The more we talked about it, the more the dollar amount went up," said Jerry Cross, president of the credit union.
Every dollar will purchase $8.90 worth of food through the Vermont Food Bank. Luse said the credit union's donation will translate into roughly $15,000 worth of food.
"This is not a small amount and it will help us through the holidays," she said.
According to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the percentage of households in Vermont experiencing the most severe category of hunger is increasing faster than any other state in the nation.
Luse said this winter the cost of fuel will force many families in the area into a "heat or eat" situation.
Food is flying off the shelf faster than she can replace it, but that "the response from the community has been overwhelming," Luse said.
Cross said the credit union usually donates food items to the Springfield Family Center, adding up to about $200 a year. This is the first time the bank has presented a check.
Luse said the Springfield Family Center is focused on raising awareness of the need in this area — a difficult task in light of the recent hurricane and flood disasters.
"We've got a momentum going. We've got to keep it up," she said.