Project Feed the Thousands: 24th annual fundraising starts Friday

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BRATTLEBORO — This morning, Project Feed the Thousands Campaign kicks off its 24th Annual Food Drive. The launch will take place with two live broadcasts at two locations: Brattleboro's Price Chopper Supermarket on Canal Street from 7 to 9 a.m. with long-time media supporter WTSA 96.7 FM and host Tim Johnson as well as simultaneously from The Brattleboro Food Co-op in downtown Brattleboro, hosted by another generous media supporter, WYRY 104.9 FM and host Brian McCormick.

One in seven Vermont children living in food insecure households and almost 6,700 families in Windham County receiving 3SquaresVT help to buy food.

"The community goal this year is to raise $85,000 in cash, as well as to collect enough provisions for 200,000 meals," said Jeff Morse, project co-chairman and president of River Valley Credit Union. Various businesses and individuals, in conjunction with Project Feed the Thousands, will be accepting non-perishable food, personal care items and cash donations. All campaign contributions will then be distributed to many area food shelves to help thousands of people who struggle with hunger throughout southeastern Vermont and southwestern New Hampshire.

"Project Feed is this region's largest community food drive," said project co-chairwoman Kelli Corbeil and owner of WTSA Radio, "but even with a growing list of corporate donors, participating schools, and individual donations large and small, achieving our goal again this year will be challenging."

"This cash and food drive is imperative to our community food shelves, we really rely on it," said Rosie Gardner of Groundworks Food Shelf. "All of the food shelves in our region are struggling and when the cold season comes, the need is enormous. We could not possibly feed all the individuals we see if it wasn't for Project Feed the Thousands."

Groundworks alone supports around 12,000 visits a year for those in need.

Project Feed was started in 1994 by Larry Smith, then of WTSA Radio, and George Haynes, formerly President of Brattleboro Savings & Loan. Co-founding the campaign, Smith and Haynes emphasized the importance of helping less fortunate families in the community. To achieve this goal, they enlisted neighbors and friends to start a food drive specifically designed to alleviate hunger in Brattleboro and surrounding towns. At that time, the goal was to fill a single tractor trailer with food, feeding an estimated 1,000 local individuals in need.

In its 24-year history since, the Project Feed campaign has grown in both size and scope. As a result of this growth, the campaign now includes all of Windham County, as well as southwestern New Hampshire. Not only has Project Feed raised well over one million dollars to purchase and distribute food and personal care items over its long history, but it has also filled hundreds of truckloads of actual food to be distributed to the area food shelves.

The food and supplies distributed through this campaign include cereal, juices, peanut butter, canned foods, soups, crackers and many other non perishable foods, as well as personal hygiene items such shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes and soap.

Monetary contributions may be sent to Project Feed, c/o River Valley Credit Union, P.O. Box 8366, 820 Putney Rd., Brattleboro, VT 05304.

Non-perishable food and personal care items may be donated at the Brattleboro Food Co-op, Brattleboro's Hannaford and Price Chopper locations, St. Michael's Church and St. Michael's School on Walnut Street in Brattleboro, all River Valley Credit Union locations and all of the Brattleboro, Vernon and Guilford schools. Donations are also received outside of Brattleboro at River Bend Farm Market in Townshend, Walmart in Hinsdale, N.H, the Hinsdale schools, and a long list of other churches and local drop-off points. For a complete list of locations and upcoming events, visit Feedthethousands.org.

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