NO. R-56.  JOINT RESOLUTION in observance of Hunger Awareness Day.

(J.R.H.10)

Offered by:  Representatives Dostis of Waterbury, Amidon of Charlotte, Atkins of Winooski, Bohi of Hartford, Bolduc of Barton, Bostic of St. Johnsbury, Botzow of Pownal, Branagan of Georgia, Brooks of Montpelier, Chen of Mendon, Connell of Warren, Crawford of Burke, Cross of Winooski, Dakin of Colchester, DePoy of Rutland City, Donovan of Burlington, Edwards of Brattleboro, Emmons of Springfield, Endres of Milton, Fallar of Tinmouth, Fisher of Lincoln, Freed of Dorset, Grad of Moretown, Head of South Burlington, Heath of Westford, Helm of Castleton, Hingtgen of Burlington, Hube of Londonderry, Hummel of Underhill, Hunt of Essex, Johnson of South Hero, Ketchum of Bethel, Kiss of Burlington, Kitzmiller of Montpelier, Klein of East Montpelier, Koch of Barre Town, Larson of Burlington, LaVoie of Swanton, Lippert of Hinesburg, Maier of Middlebury, Marek of Newfane, Marron of Stowe, Martin of Springfield, Masland of Thetford, Miller of Shaftsbury, Molloy of Arlington, Monti of Barre City, Morrissey of Bennington, Nease of Johnson, Nitka of Ludlow, Nuovo of Middlebury, Obuchowski of Rockingham, O’Donnell of Vernon, Parent of St. Albans City, Partridge of Windham, Peterson of Williston, Pillsbury of Brattleboro, Pugh of South Burlington, Reese of Pomfret, Rodgers of Glover, Rogers of Castleton, Rusten of Halifax, Sharpe of Bristol, Smith of Morristown, Sweaney of Windsor, Symington of Jericho, Tracy of Burlington, Trombley of Grand Isle, Valliere of Barre City, Vincent of Waterbury, Westman of Cambridge, Young of Orwell and Zuckerman of Burlington.

Whereas, February 27 is Hunger Awareness Day, and

Whereas, according to U.S. Census data, 26,000 Vermont children are living in households where food scarcity and hunger are daily struggles, and

Whereas, the demand for emergency food, particularly among working families and seniors, continues to rise beyond the capacity of local food pantries, and

Whereas, if every school participated in the federal school meal programs and offered free and reduced price breakfast and lunch, a child would be guaranteed at least two nutritious meals a day when school is in session, and

Whereas, if every community offered the federally‑funded Summer Food Service Program, 40,000 children eligible for free meals would have a reliable food source during the summer months, and

Whereas, over 83,000 Vermonters live at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level and may qualify for food stamps, yet only 40,000 Vermonters receive food stamp benefits, and

Whereas, if every eligible Vermonter participated in the Food Stamp Program, millions of dollars from the federal government would flow to needy families who could purchase food at their local grocery stores, and 

Whereas, undernourished children fare poorly in health, learning, growth, and development, and

Whereas, hunger and malnutrition are preventable, and

Whereas, Vermont has the tools to end hunger but does not fully utilize existing federal resources, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That it is in the best interest of Vermonters to maximize the use of federal nutrition programs, and for the state to create partnerships with the private sector and businesses to ensure these programs are both available and accessible to Vermont’s children, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger, the Vermont Foodbank, the Vermont School Food Service Association, and the Northfield Kids’ Café.