Chester, Vermont –Drew’s All Natural, a Chester Vermont specialty food company, is partnering with 2 non-profit organizations to help feed the hungry and less fortunate. This week, Drew’s is donating 135 cases of dressings, marinades and salsas to Project Feed the Thousands (www.feedthethousands.org), a non-profit based in Brattleboro, VT. The donation supports their local food drive for the Christmas holiday season. Drew’s also recently donated 875 cases of salsas made with organic tomatoes to the Vermont Foodbank (www.vtfoodbank.org).
“We recognize that poverty and hunger is a serious problem and we want to help,” says Drew Starkweather, Chef and President of Drew’s All Natural. “The people of Vermont and the local community have been very good to us and instrumental in our success, so it is nice to be able to offer support for those that are less fortunate,” he adds.
Compared to 1993, when Project Feed the Thousands started, the local Food Shelf now serves 98% more households, 394% more Children , 213% more Adults, 284% more Elders, 543% more Veterans and 121% more Homeless. In addition, the demand for holiday food baskets rose 141% from 1993 to 2002, and is up another 15% from 2002 to 2003. “People are in need right now, right where you live,” says Melinda Bussino of Project Feed the Thousands. “We appreciate the donation from Drew’s and hope their goodwill will serve as an example for other local businesses and citizens to follow,” she adds.
From now until the end of the year, items can be donated at the Project Feed the Thousands Brattleboro Area Drop In Center at 60 South Main Street. Other Drop off Locations include the Brattleboro Food Co-op, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, Brattleboro Savings and Loan, Hannaford's, Price Chopper, Putney Food Co-op, River Bend Farm Market, River Valley Credit Union, and Wilmington Shaw's. For more donation information visit www.feedthethousands.org.
Based in Barre, the Vermont Foodbank serves approximately 295 plus not-for-profit organizations with meal programs including: community kitchens; shelters for the homeless; domestic abuse programs; food shelf programs; rehabilitative centers; and services for the elderly and children. “The demand for food is steadily increasing throughout the state and we are grateful for the generosity of businesses like Drew’s All Natural and the many individuals that partner and support the efforts of the Foodbank,” said Deborah Flateman, Foodbank CEO. “It will take all of us to create a hunger-free Vermont,” she adds. Last year the Vermont Foodbank distributed 7.4 million pounds of food to nearly 130,000 hungry Vermonters.
Since 1995, Drew Starkweather has used his experience as a chef to create organic and award winning Salsas, as well as low-carb natural Salad Dressings that double as 10 Minute Marinades. With products available in thousands of retail stores across the nation, Drew’s All Natural has demonstrated its commitment to creating healthy, unique and high-quality foods that are offered at a reasonable price. For more information, visit the company website at www.drews.com or call toll-free at 1-800-228-2980.
According to the Center on Hunger and Poverty:
- 10.1 percent of Vermont households are food insecure - approximately 67,000 people.
- 18 percent of Vermont children, 26,000 kids, live in food insecure households.
- An average of 8,736 Vermont children are being fed by Food Shelves each month, an increase of 6 percent in the past year.
- More than half (51 percent) of the Food Shelf customers are families with minor children.
- Elderly households account for two-thirds of the recent growth in the Food Shelves caseload, and now represent 24 percent of the Vermonters being helped by local food shelves.
- The number of elderly households using Food Shelves increased by 19 percent since the 2000 survey was done.
- 39 percent of customers at Food Shelves are households with adults who are working or on temporary layoff.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture maintains that one in nine Americans isn’t sure where his or her next meal will come from.
- America’s Second Harvest determined through their nationwide network of affiliates that, “29.7 percent of emergency food recipient households had to choose between paying for food or paying for medical care in the past 12 months.”