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NO. R-73. JOINT RESOLUTION recognizing February 23 as hunger awareness day.

(J.R.H. 51)

Offered by: Representatives Dostis of Waterbury, Atkins of Winooski, Audette of South Burlington, Bohi of Hartford, Brooks of Montpelier, Carey of Chester, Colvin of Bennington, Connell of Warren, Cross of Winooski, Dakin of Colchester, Donovan of Burlington, Fisher of Lincoln, Flory of Pittsford, Freed of Dorset, Grad of Moretown, Heath of Westford, Helm of Castleton, Keenan of St. Albans City, Keogh of Burlington, Kirker of Essex, Larocque of Barnet, Larson of Burlington, Little of Shelburne, Livingston of Manchester, Marron of Stowe, Mazur of South Burlington, Mullin of Rutland Town, Obuchowski of Rockingham, Pugh of South Burlington, Reese of Pomfret, Tracy of Burlington, Vincent of Waterbury, Voyer of Morristown, Webster of Brattleboro, Westman of Cambridge, Wood of Brandon, Woodward of Johnson and Young of Orwell.

Whereas, 55,000 households are living in poverty in our state, including working families with children and the elderly, and

Whereas, 21,000 children under the age of 12 in the state of Vermont are hungry or at risk of hunger, which greatly affects cognitive development as well as impairing educational achievement, and

Whereas, many Vermonters are currently overburdened with deciding between paying the rising costs of housing, health care, and fuel, or providing enough food for their families' nutritional health, and

Whereas, more and more families are forced to seek assistance from charitable food pantries and community kitchens, not availing themselves of the Food Stamp program which has seen a 28 percent decline in participation over the past four years, and

Whereas, there is an unfair stigma attached to those in our community who have fallen on hard times that can often deter people who are hungry from receiving assistance from government programs or charitable resources, and

Whereas, the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger and the Vermont Foodbank have dedicated themselves to making Vermont the first hunger-free state in the nation, and

Whereas, the Vermont General Assembly has joined with both of these organizations in supporting childhood nutrition programs with supplemental meal reimbursement, one-time grant funding, and the establishment of a Food Stamp outreach and education project, and

Whereas, the General Assembly, as sworn guardians of the people, has a unique opportunity to support the partnership of the private and public sectors to help end hunger, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly recognizes February 23 as Hunger Awareness Day, and be it further

Resolved: That the General Assembly will support strengthening Vermont's Food Safety Net to help eradicate the stigma attached to those in need, promote the dignity of every Vermonter, and encourage a political will to end hunger in our state, and be it further

Resolved: That the Secretary of State is directed to send a copy of this resolution to the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger and the Vermont Foodbank.