MONTPELIER, Vt, Nov 26, 2013 -- As residents of Northern New England prepare for Thanksgiving, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging organizations that fight hunger to consider applying for federal assistance to implement hunger-combating, food security infrastructure.
"Thanksgiving offers a unique opportunity for all of us to remember those who face hunger on a daily basis," said USDA Rural Development Vermont and New Hampshire State Director Ted Brady. "USDA is seeking solutions to combat hunger and food insecurity – especially through innovative approaches that match local food systems with hunger-fighting non-profits."
Since 2010, USDA Rural Development has used its Community Facilities Program to fund more than $2 million worth of food security projects aimed at bolstering the food security network in Vermont and New Hampshire. Recipients of the funding include The Vermont Foodbank, Wakefield Food Pantry, The Kitchen Cupboard, Springfield Family Center Food Shelf, The Town of Groton, and Central Vermont Community Action Council (CVCAC).
USDA grants and loans have been used to buy equipment for food shelves and pantries such as shelving, refrigeration units, and a vehicle to transport food. As part of the CVCAC project in Barre, Vt., a kitchen and food shelf was built. At the kitchen, underemployed and unemployed participants receive job training in the food services sector of the economy. This valuable training enables the participants to develop job skills that enhance their career opportunities and promotes their personal food security.
The Community Facilities Loan and Grant Program serves non-profits and public bodies located in service areas of up to 20,000 in population. The funding is for capital needs of essential community facilities. In addition to food security projects, other eligible projects include those supporting child care, health care, public safety, municipal infrastructure, libraries, education and energy efficiency. Detailed information is available at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/HCF_CF.html. For an application, visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/VTNH-ComFacLoanGrant.html.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack noted that Rural Development's initiative to strengthen and develop the food security network is another reminder of the importance of USDA programs for rural America. A comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy. He said that's just one reason why Congress must pass a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill done as soon as possible.
President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business, and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. For more information on Rural Development or the Community Facilities Program visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/nh-vtHome.html or contact USDA Rural Development at (802) 828-6000 in Vermont and (603) 223-6035 in New Hampshire.
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