FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rachel Moss, CEFS
Judy Stermer, Vermont Foodbank
PHOTO OP- JOEL BERG, NATIONAL EXPERT ON HUNGER AND POVERTY, TO SPEAK TO COMMUNITY KITCHEN GRADUATING CLASS
Burlington, VT— Joel Berg, a leading national expert on U.S. hunger and poverty, author of All You Can Eat: How Hungry is America? and Executive Director, NYC Coalition Against Hunger, will address the fourth graduating class of Community Kitchen, a culinary job training partnership of the Vermont Foodbank and the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf on Monday, April 26th at 2pm.
The ceremony will honor the hard work of the ten graduates of Community Kitchen. This culinary job training program trains unemployed adults in the skills and techniques of the culinary field and charges them with turning perishable, donated food into well-balanced meals for Vermonters in need. Community Kitchen is a nationally recognized program model, and through their partnership, the Vermont Foodbank and the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf are able to address the root causes of poverty and hunger and simultaneously feed more people. Participants enrolled in the 14-week Community Kitchen class receive culinary job training, professional and life skills instruction, and job placement support and guidance in an effort to help them achieve economic self sufficiency and independence.
This session, seven of ten graduates are already placed in full-time jobs. The remaining three are still in various stages of the interview process and the Community Kitchen team is confident that they will be employed very soon.
“It is a huge accomplishment that Community Kitchen has maintained a 93% job placement rate for its graduates,” said Rob Meehan, Director of the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf. “The success of this program demonstrates a serious need for increased training opportunities to break the cycle of hunger and poverty.”
“We are thrilled to have a national leader in Joel Berg speak at Community Kitchen graduation,” said John Sayles, Vermont Foodbank CEO. “This recognition is well-deserved. This class of graduates should be proud of their accomplishments. They have completed a rigorous tainning course while simultaneously furthering the mission of ensuring that no Vermonter will go hungry.”
Berg will talk about his book, which provides the Obama Administration with a new, unique, and common-sense plan to achieve the President’s pledge to end U.S. child hunger by 2015, as a down payment on ending all domestic hunger. He will also discuss how health care reform and other governmental policy proposals, such as the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act, could help Vermont’s hungry families move from soup kitchens to self-sufficiency.
About the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf
Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf works to alleviate hunger by feeding people and cultivating opportunities. As the largest direct service emergency food provider in Vermont, the Food Shelf serves over 11,500 people each year. Visit www.feedingchittenden.org for more information.
About the Vermont Foodbank
Vermont Foodbank is the state’s largest hunger-relief organization, serving communities in all 14 counties of Vermont through a network of more than 280 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, senior centers and after-school programs. In FY2009, the Vermont Foodbank distributed nearly 7.5 million pounds of food to as many as 86,000 Vermonters. To learn more about hunger in your community and to take action against hunger and poverty in Vermont, visit us on the web at www.vtfoodbank.org