With record demand for local food assistance, Central Vermont Public Service today announced a 22,000-item goal for the 2011 CVPS Fill the Cupboard Challenge. That is the highest goal ever for the annual food drive, which benefits the Rutland Community Cupboard.
“Sadly, the Community Cupboard continues to see record numbers of people in need of assistance, many for the first time,” CVPS spokesman Steve Costello said. “Even though the recession is over, many of our friends and neighbors need help. We hope the Fill the Cupboard Challenge will once again provide significant relief.”
Businesses, clubs, schools, sports teams, churches and other organizations are encouraged to register for the challenge, then collect food donations between Sept. 6 and 23 and deliver them to the Rutland Community Cupboard. CVPS will donate 25 cents to the Community Cupboard for every item collected, up to a total of $5,000. The company will also donate $500 in the name of the group that collects the most food.
Participants should pre-register for the challenge by calling Chris Adams at 747-5424.
In 2010, the Rutland Community Cupboard distributed more than 221,000 items to local residents, serving more than 1,700 families – more than 700 of them seeking assistance at the Cupboard for the first time. In 2011, more than 500 new families have sought assistance for the first time.
Participants in the CVPS Fill the Cupboard Challenge can solicit food donations from employees, customers, vendors or others, and are encouraged to conduct their own food drives as part of the Fill the Cupboard Challenge.
“Participants have been extremely creative in the past,” Costello said. “Some have held fundraisers and used the proceeds to buy food. Others have gone door to door, or held drop-off events at their schools or businesses.
“Given the growing demand, we want to especially encourage folks who have not participated in the past to join us this year,” Costello said. “This is a great way to build camaraderie among teams and co-workers while doing something for your community as well.”
Community Cupboard Manager Sue Bassett said demand remains very high given the economic downturn and high unemployment.
“There is a sense of goodwill every time we assist a family, but every new request is evidence of a growing need in our community,” Bassett said. “Without events like this challenge, Pack the Paramount, Stuff-A-Bus and the mail carriers’ drive, many local people would go hungry for lack of resources.”
Participants may deliver food to the Community Cupboard as often as they like, and should identify their organization as a participant in the Challenge when dropping off food items. Deliveries can be made to the Community Cupboard Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday between 4 and 6 p.m. through Sept. 23.
Anyone with questions about the Fill the Cupboard Challenge may call Adams at 802-747-5424.