YCQM - John Sayles - Nov. 20, 2011 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM - John Sayles - Nov. 20, 2011

November 20, 2011 -- John Sayles, the president of the Vermont Foodbank, joins Kristin Carlson and Darren Perron to discuss hunger in Vermont.

>> FROM VERMONT'S MOST PRESSING NEWS SOURCE, WCAX BRINGS YOU YOUR NEWS MAKER.

>> THANKS FOR JOINING US. OUR NEWS MAKER TODAY IS JOHN SAYLES, THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER FOR FOOD BANK.

>> WE'LL DISCUSS A GROWING PROBLEM IN VERMONT, HUNGER. MR. SAYLES, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US THIS MORNING.

>> THANK YOU. IT'S A PLEASURE TO BE HERE.

>> LET'S START WITH A NUMBER ON THIS PROBLEM. IS THERE A WAY TO GAUGE OR DO WE HAVE HANDLE ON THE NUMBER OF FAMILIES OR PEOPLE IN VERMONT WHO ARE CONSIDERED HUNGRY?

>> WE DO. WE DO A STUDY EVERY FOUR YEARS. WE KNOW THAT AS MANY AS 86,000 PEOPLE EACH YEAR NEED SOME KIND OF FOOD ASSISTANCE IN VERMONT.

>> AND WHEN FOLKS THINK ABOUT HUNGRY, IT MAY CONJURE UP IMAGES OUT OF AFRICA WHERE THERE IS MASSIVE FAMINE GOING ON, BUT THAT'S NOT REALLY WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE IN VERMONT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT HUNGER, RIGHT?

>> RIGHT. EVEN IN THE U.S., HUNGER IN THIS COUNTRY IS NO LONGER PEOPLE STARVING OR PEOPLE SEVERELY MALNOURISHED. IT'S REALLY PEOPLE NOT GETTING PROPER NUTRITION. IT'S PEOPLE SKIPPING MEALS. WE HAVE WHAT WE CALL "FOOD INSECURITY" AND "SEVERE FOOD INSECURITY." IF YOU'RE ACTUALLY MISSING MEALS, IF YOU'RE MISSING FOUR OR FIVE MEALS A WEEK, THEN YOU'D BE CONSIDERED TO BE SEVERELY FOOD INSECURE. OFTENTIMES WHAT YOU SEE IS PARENTS NOT EATING A MEAL OR EATING LESS SO THE KIDS CAN HAVE A LITTLE BIT MORE.

>> I'LL GO BACK TO THAT FIRST NUMBER YOU SAID ABOUT...

>> 86,000.

>> THAT'S ALMOST ONE EIGHTH OF THE STATE'S POPULATION.

>> OVER 13% OF THE STATE'S POPULATION. THAT'S RIGHT.

>> SO THAT SEEMS A LITTLE STAGGERING.

>> IT IS.

>> HOW DO YOU GUYS COLLECT THAT DATA AND MAKE SURE THAT IT'S SOUND?

>> WELL, WE DO A STATISTICALLY VALID STUDY EVERY FOUR YEARS. WE DO OVER 300 INTERVIEWS WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE VISITING MEAL SITES OR HOMELESS SHELTERS OR FOOD SHELVES ALL AROUND THE STATE. AND THEN THERE'S NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF FOOD BANKS CALLED FEEDING AMERICA, AND THEY CONTRACT WITH AN AN LET CAL COMPANY WHO TAKES ALL THAT DATA. WE DO A DETAILED... IT'S ABOUT A 20-MINUTE INTERVIEW WITH FOLKS WHO VOLUNTEER TO INTERVIEW WITH US. AND WE TAKE ALL THIS INFORMATION AND IT GETS ANALYZED NATIONWIDE AND THEN IT GETS BROKEN DOWN BY COUNTY IN THIS STATE.

>> SO YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT FOLKS WHO... YOU SAID THERE IS A SPECTRUM OF MISSING MEALS, GOING TO BED HUNGRY. WHAT WILL IT TAKE? BECAUSE IT SEEMS LIKE ALREADY VERMONT HAS A NETWORK OR FOOD SHELVES AND MEAL SITES. THERE'S SOME CONNECTED TO FAITH MEAL SITES, SECULAR MEAL SITES. WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO SORT OF ADDRESS THIS PROBLEM?

>> WELL, WE DO KNOW FROM THE DATA THAT WE'VE COLLECTED, THERE'S PROBABLY OVER 13 MILLION MISSING MEALS. SO THOSE ARE NUMBER OF MEALS VERMONTERS ARE MISSING. AND THE COST IN VERMONT, IT'S ABOUT $3 A MEAL TO MAKE UP THE AMOUNT OF FOOD PEOPLE AREN'T GETTING. SO THAT'S OVER $41 MILLION. THAT'S ABOUT $500 A PERSON PER YEAR THAT WOULD BE NEEDED TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE ARE GETTING ENOUGH HEALTHY, GOOD FOOD TO BE ABLE TO LIVE A REAL HEALTHY LIFE.

>> AND THAT'S PART OF THIS, AS WELL. IT'S NOT JUST SKIPPING MEALS, BUT IT'S ALSO MEALS CONSIDERED UNHEALTHY AS PART OF THIS 86,000?

>> THAT'S RIGHT. POOR NUTRITION IS PART OF HUNGER. CHEAP CALORIES ARE GENERALLY BAD CALORIES. FOR INSTANCE, IF YOU'RE VERY HUNGRY AND YOU HAVE KIDS, YOU MIGHT BUY A TWO-LITER BOTTLE OF SODA FOR 9 9 CENTS AND THEN BUY MACARONI AND CHEESE AN HOT DOGS. YOU CAN DRINK THAT BOTTLE OF SODA AND FEEL FULL, BUT ALL YOU'RE HAVING ARE EMPTY CALORIES BUT YOU'LL FEEL FULL. BUT IF YOU WANT THE BUY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES AND APPLES AND CARROTS AND LETTUCE, IT'S A LOT MORE EXPENSIVE. EVEN CABBAGE AND ONIONS TO MAKE A SOUP IS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN SOME OF THE REALLY CHEAP CAPRIES OUT THERE. PEOPLE TALK ABOUT LOW-INCOME PEOPLE GOING TO McDONALD'S. WELL, MANAGE DONALD'S IS A VERY COMEEP PLACE TO EAT TO FILL UP YOUR BELLY AND GET SOME CALORIES IN YOU.

>> THIS SOUNDS LIKE MAJOR PROBLEM, ECONOMICS. IS THAT WHY WE'RE SEEING SUCH A HIGH NUMBER IN VERMONT, 86,000, BECAUSE THERE'S NOT THE MONEY OUT THERE TO SPEND ON FOOD?

>> ABSOLUTELY. PEOPLE DON'T HAVE THE OPPORTUNITIES TO GET THE KIND OF JOXZ THAT THEY NEED TO BE ABLE TO AFFORD ENOUGH HEALTHY FOOD TO LIVE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE.

>> WHAT ABOUT OUR HOUSING COSTS? HOW DO YOU THINK THAT PLAYS A ROLE?

>> ABSOLUTELY. ABSOLUTELY. EVERYTHING PLAYS A ROLE. VERMONT, THE HOUSING COSTS, THE COSTS OF HEATING FUEL, THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION. WE KNOW WE'RE THE MOST RURAL STATE IN THE COUNTRY. AND EVEN LOW-INCOME PEOPLE NEED TO DRIVE TO WORK. AND THAT OFTEN DRIVE LONG DISTANCES. SO WE KNOW ACTUALLY, WE TAKE STATISTICS AND WE KNOW THAT OVER 40% OF THE PEOPLE WHO GET FOOD ASSISTANCE HAVE TO MAKE A CHOICE BETWEEN EITHER BUYING FOOD OR PAYING THEIR RENT OR BUYING MEDICINE OR BUYING GAS FOR THE CAR.

>> SO EVEN WITH ALL THE DIFFERENT FOOD SHELVES AROUND THE STATE, IT'S NOT MEETING THE DEMAND?

>> NO. WE'RE NOT MEETING THE NEED IN VERMONT.

>> WELL, LET'S TALK A LITTLE BIT, WE'RE HEADING INTO THE HOLIDAY SEASON, AND SO MUCH OF THE HOLIDAYS ARE CENTERED AROUND FOOD AND CELEBRATING FOOD AND EATING LOTS OF FOOD. HOW ARE COLLECTIONS LOOKING HEADING INTO THIS SEASON?

>> WELL, YOU KNOW, IT'S BEEN DIFFERENT THIS YEAR BECAUSE OF TROPICAL STORM IRENE. THERE WAS JUST A... THERE HAS BEEN A TREMENDOUS OUTPOURING SINCE AUGUST 31st ACROSS THE STATE IN EVERY SECTOR, BUT CERTAINLY FOR THE FOOD BANK AND FOR THE 280 NETWORK PARTNERS THAT SERVE FOOD THAT COMES FROM THE FOOD BANK AROUND THE STATE. WE EXPECT THAT VERMONTERS BEING AMAZINGLY GENEROUS AS THEY ARE, WE'LL CONTINUE TO SEE CONTRIBUTIONS TO PLACES LIKE THE EMERGENCY FOOD SHELF AND THE BRATTLEBORO DROP-IN CENTER AND THE VERMONT FOOD BANK THROUGHOUT THE HOLIDAY SEASON. THIS IS OUR BIG GIVING SEASON. WE DO OUR ANNUAL CAMPAIGN NOW. I KNOW THAT CHITTENDEN EMERGENCY FOOD SHELF IS LOOKING FOR TURKEYS. AND ALSO IN BATTLEBOROUGH THEY'RE LOOKING FOR -- BRATTLEBORO THEY'RE LOOKING FOR TURKEYS. THE NEED IS GREATER BECAUSE OF IRENE AND THE NEED IS GREATER BECAUSE OF THE ECONOMY.

>> YOU MENTIONED THE CHITTENDEN EMERGENCY FOOD SHELF PUTTING OUT THE CALL FOR TURK YEARS AND VERMONTERS HAVE BEEN GENEROUS, BUT AS OF LAST WEEK, THEY HAD ZERO TURKEYS DONATED SO FAR FOR THANKSGIVING, AND HERE WE ARE JUST A FEW DAYS AWAY FROM THE HOLIDAY. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THAT AND WHAT CAN BE DONE TO MAKE SURE THAT THESE HUNGRY FAMILIES GET A HURRICANEY?

>> YOU KNOW, I GUESS THE ONLY WAY I COULD TRY TO EXPLAIN IT WOULD BE TO SAY THAT EVERYBODY'S STRUGGLING THESE DAYS. YOU KNOW, EVEN PEOPLE WHO HAVE MORE HAVE A LITTLE LESS. SO PEOPLE MAY BE NOT AS ABLE TO COME AND BRING THAT TURKEY. I THINK ONCE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND WHAT THE NEED IS, THEY'LL COME OUT. AND WE'LL SEE A BIG OUTPOURING IN THE NEXT WEEK, BOTH TO THE CHITTENDEN EMERGENCY FOOD SHELF AND TO THE OTHER AGENCIES AND PARTNERS THAT ARE FEEDING PEOPLE AROUND THE STATE.

>> DO YOU THINK THAT IRENE, THOUGH, ON ONE HAND WE SAW SUCH AN OUTPOURING OF DONATIONS AND PEOPLE STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE TO HELP THEIR NEIGHBORS IN NEED AFTER THIS STORM, DO YOU THINK, THOUGH, IN SOME WAY THAT PERHAPS IRENE LED TO THESE SHORTAGES AT THE FOOD SHELF BECAUSE THERE IS, A, MORE DEMAND, AND PEOPLE ARE SORT OF DIVERTING THEIR DONATIONS TO THAT RELIEF EFFORT VERSUS STOCKING FOOD SHELVES AS THEY NORMALLY WOULD?

>> I DON'T THINK THAT'S AS BIG AN ISSUE AS OTHER PEOPLE MIGHT THINK. I DON'T REALLY BELIEVE SO MUCH IN DONOR FATIGUE, WHICH IS WHAT A LOT OF PEOPLE IN NON-PROFITS CALL IT, PEOPLE HAVE BEEN GIVING SO MUCH THEY JUST CAN'T GIVE ANYMORE. PEOPLE ARE AMAZINGLY GENEROUS, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT'S THEIR NEIGHBORS AND ESPECIALLY WITH ISSUES LIKE HAVING PLACE TO LIVE AND HAVING CLOTHES ON YOUR BACK AND HAVING FOOD TO EAT. SO ONCE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND WHAT THE NEED IS, THEY USUALLY COME THROUGH. YOU KNOW, I'D ALSO LIKE TO SAY THAT WE CAN'T DO IT ALONE HERE IN VERMONT. THE NEED IS SO GREAT, VERMONTERS ALONE CAN'T TAKE OF OUR OWN. IT REALLY TAKES THOSE ROBUST FEDERAL PROGRAM, TOO, WHICH BRING A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF FOOD AID INTO THE STATE.

>> AGAIN, IT JUST STUNNED SOME PEOPLE THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO ARE HUNGRY. YOU KNOW, VERMONT, WHEN YOU LOOK AT OTHER STATES, WE'RE NOT A PARTICULARLY POOR STATE. WE HAVE A STRONG AGRICULTURE BACKGROUND, AS YOU SAID, A STRONG NETWORK OF COMMUNITY, BUT YET THERE IS STILL THIS HUGE GAP. I JUST THINK SOMEHOW I FIND THAT STAGGERING.

>> WE'RE VERY RURAL. WE DO HAVE A LOT OF INCOME DISPARITY IN VERMONT. YOU KNOW, YOU DRIVE THE BACK ROADS OF VERMONT AND YOU SEE THOSE LITTLE HOUSES BACK OFF THE DIRT ROADS REALLY NOT AROUND A LOT OF HELP. THERE AREN'T A LOT OF AGENCIES. THERE'S NOT A FOOD SHELF. THERE'S NOT A SCHOOL NEARBY. THERE'S IN THE A CHURCH NEARBY. THERE AREN'T PLACES PEOPLE CAN GO FOR HELP. ALSO I THINK IT'S A VERY REAL ISSUE IS THE PRIDE OF VERMONTERS, ESPECIALLY OUR ELDERLY, WHO SAY, "I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE SOMETHING BECAUSE THERE'S OTHERS THAT NEED IT MORE THAN ME. AND WE WISH ALL THOSE PEOPLE WOULD COME OUT AND ASK FOR SOME HELP WHEN THEY NEED IT BECAUSE REALLY IT'S JUST SOMETIMES IT'S JUST THAT LITTLE BIT OF HELP YOU NEED TO GET OVER THAT HUMP. AND THEN PEOPLE CAN RELY ON THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES AND THEIR NEIGHBORS SOME MORE.

>> DO YOU HAVE A SENSE, JOHN, OF HOW MANY PEOPLE MAY BE QUALIFIED FOR BENEFITS OR QUALIFIED FOR ASSISTANCE AND MAYBE AREN'T ACCESSING? I KNOW THAT'S SOMETIMES A PERENNIAL DISCUSSION WHEN IT COMES TO BENEFITS FOR THE STATE?

>> I THINK IT'S ABOUT BETWEEN 70% AND 80% OF THE PEOPLE THAT ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THREE SQUARES VERMONT, WHICH USED TO BE CALLED FOOD STAMP, ACCESS IT IN THE STATE. SO THERE'S 25% TO 30% OF THE PEOPLE, AND THAT'S OVER 90,000 PEOPLE WHAT ARE NOW ON THE PROGRAM. SO THERE'S A LARGE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE, AND AGAIN, A LOT OF THEM ARE SENIORS AND A LOT OF THEM ARE CHILDREN WHO ARE NOT GETTING THE BENEFITS THAT THEY ARE ENTITLED TO.

>> IS THERE SOME KIND OF OUTREACH THEN THAT FOOD ORGANIZATIONS, GROUPS LIKE YOURSELF ARE TRYING TO REACH THOSE PEOPLE AND GET THEM THE HELP THEY NEED?

>> SURE. AND WE DO THAT EVERY DAY. THERE'S A GREAT ORGANIZATION IN VERMONT ALSO CALLED HUNGER-FREE VERMONT, ANOTHER NON-PROFIT THAT DOES A LOT OF THREE SQUARES VERMONT OUTREACH. THE STATE DOES A LOT OF OUTREACH. SO OUR FOOD SHELVES ALL HAVE INFORMATION ON THREE SQUARES VERMONT. WHEN PEOPLE COME TO THE FOOD BANG IN OUR OFFICES IN BARRE, WHICH THEY DO REALLY ALMOST EVERY DAY LOOKING FOR FOOD, WE ALWAYS GIVE THEM FOOD. WE ALWAYS GIVE THEM A LIST OF THE FOOD SHELVES IN THE AREA, AND WE ALWAYS GIVE THEM INFORMATION ON THOSE PROGRAMS THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE.

>> AND YOU FOLKS ARE MEETING, THE NON-PROFIT THAT YOU JUST MENTIONED AND OTHER GROUPS ARE MEETING WITH LAWMAKERS, AS WELL. WHAT ARE YOU TELLING LAWMAKERS? WHY ARE THESE MEETINGS NECESSARY AND WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO TAKE AWAY FROM THOSE MEETINGS?

>> WELL, IT'S UNFORTUNATE, BUT IT'S A CONTINUING PROCESS OF EDUCATION TO LET PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THE ISSUE OF HUNGER IN VERMONT. THAT INCLUDES OUR LEGISLATORS. I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED WHEN THEY FIND OUT THE EXTENT OF HUNGER IN VERMONT, THE PEOPLE THAT AREN'T GETTING THE FOOD THEY NEED. AND THE MORE OUR LEGISLATORS ARE EDUCATED ON THE PROBLEM AND ON THE SOLUTIONS THAT ARE WORKING NOW, THE BETTER THEY CAN DO TO REALLY ADD TO THOSE SOLUTIONS TO HELP. THERE'S THINGS THE STATE CAN DO HERE AND THERE TO REALLY MAKE THINGS BETTER.

>> LET'S TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT KIDS. YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT THAT IMPACTS CHILDREN, SOMETIMES THEY MAY BE GETTING A MEAL. IT'S NOT THE MOST TRUE TRISHES. -- NUTRITIOUS. HOW IS THE STATE DOING IN REACHING KIDS ONCE THEY GET TO SCHOOL AND GETTING MAYBE SCHOOL BREAKFASTS AND SCHOOL MEALS?

>> WE THIS A PRETTY GOOD JOB IN VERMONT COMPARED TO SOME OTHER STATES. MOST OF OUR SCHOOLS, I THINK ALMOST ALL OF OUR SCHOOLS PROVIDE THE PROGRAM, THE FEDERALLY SUBSIDIZED OR FREE BREAKFASTS AND LUNCHES, AND THERE'S SOME THINGS CALLED CATEGORICAL ELIGIBILITY AND SOME OTHER PROGRAMMATIC THINGS THAT ALLOW, MAKE IT EASIER FOR CHILDREN TO GET INTO THE PROGRAM. SCHOOLS IN VERMONT ACTUALLY DO AN EXCELLENT JOB OVERALL OF PROVIDING GOOD, NUTRITIOUS FOOD. WE'RE ONE OF THE LEADERS IN THE COUNTRY FOR BRINGING FRESH LOCAL FOOD INTO OUR SCHOOLS AND MAKING SURE THAT THE FOOD IS FRESHLY PREPARED AND THERE'S SOME REAL SHINING STARS, LIKE THE HARWOOD UNION SCHOOL WHERE THEY HAVE A NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED PROGRAM FOR THE QUALITY OF THEIR FOOD THERE.

>> YEAH, QUITE THE CHEF MAKING THE MEALS.

>> THAT'S RIGHT. IN BURLINGTON, THE SCHOOL SYSTEM IS DOING A GREAT JOB. AND THAT'S REALLY SPREADING THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

>> BUT THE CONCERN I'VE HEARD IS THAT THE KIDS GO TO SCHOOL. THEY'RE GIVEN THIS NUTRITIOUS, GOOD MEAL, BUT THEN THERE'S SUMMER VACATION AND OTHER VACATION, AS WELL. IS THERE AN UNMET NEED THERE?

>> THERE IS. THE FOOD BANK HAS A COUPLE PROGRAMS THAT ADDRESS THAT NEED. THERE'S ONE CALLED "THE BACKPACK PROGRAM. " WHICH IS NOW IN 14 SCHOOLS ACROSS THE STATE. WE'RE EXPANDING THAT PROGRAM AS FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE. WHAT IT DOES IS IT PUTS TOGETHER A BAG OF NUTRITIOUS, EASY-TO-USE FOODS, STUFF THAT KIDS CAN PREPARE THEMSELVES. THERE'S MACARONI AND CHEESE. THERE'S CANNED FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. THERE'S MILK. AND ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON, A TEACHER OR GUIDANCE COUNCILOR WILL TAKE THAT BAG AND PUT IT IN THE CHILDREN'S BACKPACK WHO ARE IN THE PROGRAM WHEN THE OTHER KIDS AREN'T IN THE ROOM SO THAT THEY KNOW ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON THEY'RE GOING HOME WITH A LITTLE BIT OF EXTRA FOOD TO HELP THEM COME IN READY TO LEARN ON MONDAY MORNING.

>> HOW MANY SCHOOLS...

>> 14 SCHOOLS. AND AS I SAID, WE'RE TRYING TO EXPAND THAT PROGRAM AS WE CAN.

>> YOU HAD MENTIONED I THINK PROBABLY KEY IN EXPANDING PROGRAMS LIKE THIS IS FUNDING OUT OF WASHINGTON. WHERE DOES THAT STAND NOW? SO MANY DOLLARS DEPEND ON WIC, ON FOOD SHELF, FOOD BANK, THAT KIND OF THING. WHERE DO WE STAND AS FAR AS POTENTIAL CUTS GO DOWN IN WASHINGTON?

>> I KNOW PEOPLE WHO ARE PAYING ATTENTION, THINGS ARE LATE CRAZY DOWN IN WASHINGTON. IN FACT, THEY JUST GOT AROUND TO DECIDING WHAT THE BILL WOULD LOOK LIKE THAT'S GOING TO FUND THE NUTRITION PROGRAMS FOR THIS YEAR. THAT WE'RE ALREADY IN. FORTUNATELY THE BILL THEY'VE DECIDED ON BUT HAVEN'T VOTED ON YET MAINTAINS OR EVEN INCREASES SLIGHTLY THE FUNDING IN THOSE PROGRAMS. SO THAT'S GOOD NEWS. THE UNCERTAINTY IS COMING UP WITH THE SUPER COMMITTEE AND THESE PROGRAMS ARE FUNDED IN THE FARMVILLE, AND IS THE FARMVILLE GOING TO BE PART OF THE SUPER COMMITTEE. IT GETS PRETTY DETAILED PRETTY QUICKLY. BUT THERE'S A LOT OF UNCERTAINTISM WE DON'T KNOW IF THE SNAP PROGRAM, WHICH IS THREE SQUARES VERMONT AND FORMERLY FOOD STAMP, IS GOING TO BE CUT. THE FOOD BANK ITSELF GETS 45% OF THE FOODS THAT WE DISTRIBUTE FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. AND THERE'S A CHANCE THAT WE'RE GOING TO LOSE SOME OF THAT FOOD. AND SO WE'LL BE LOOKING FOR OTHER WAYS TO MAKE THAT UP. WE JUST DON'T KNOW RIGHT NOW.

>> IF THESE CUTS HAPPEN, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? CAN VERMONT PICK UP THE TAB AND CONTINUE TO FEED OUR OWN, IF YOU WILL?

>> IF YOU LOOK IN 2010, THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF FEDERAL FOOD AID THAT CAME INTO VERMONT, THAT'S THREE SQUARES VERMONT, WIC, SOME OTHER PROGRAMS AND DIFFERENT SUBSIDY, THERE'S ABOUT $176 MILLION. IF YOU LOOK AT THE FOOD BANK'S BUDGET, WHICH INCLUDES ALL OUR DONATED FOOD, IT WAS ABOUT $12 MILLION WORTH OF FOOD THAT THE FOOD BANK DISTRIBUTES. SO THERE'S NO WAY THAT I THINK THE STATE, EVEN STATE GOVERNMENT OR THE CHARITABLE ENTITIES IN THE STATE CAN MAKE UP FOR THE LOSSES IN THESE FEDERAL PROGRAMS.

>> JOHN SALE WAS THE VERMONT -- JOHN SAYLES WITH THE VERMONT FOOD BANK, JUST QUICKLY, WHAT'S THE NUMBER-ONE THING THAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN TO HELP THIS PROBLEM?

>> I THINK IT WOULD BE GREAT IF WE COULD GET THE ECONOMY STRAIGHTENED OUT. THE BEST ANTI-HUNGER PROGRAM IS THE ABILITY TO GET A GOOD JOB. THERE ARE ALWAYS THOSE PEOPLE, CHILDREN AND THE ELDERLY AND THE DISABLED THAT ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO NEED FOOD HELP. HAVING ROBUST FEDERAL FOOD PROGRAMS IS A GOOD START. WE'RE ALWAYS GOING TO NEED THE FOOD BANK AND OUR OTHER LOCAL AGENCY, OUR FOOD SHELVES AND MEAL SITES AND HOMELESS SHELTERS AROUND THE STATE. I WOULD REALLY ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO SUPPORT THE FOOD BANK AND THOSE OTHER AGENCIES AND ALSO SAY, IT'S GREAT TO GIVE A THANKSGIVING TURKEY, BUT PROVIDING THE COST OF THAT THANKSGIVING COST, THE FOOD BANK AND OUR NETWORK PARTNERS CAN MAKE THOSE DOLLARS GO A LOT FURTHER AND CAN FEED MORE HUNGRY PEOPLE WITH A DOLLAR THAN WE CAN WITH A DOLLAR'S WORTH OF FOOD FROM THE GROCERY STORE.

>> WELL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH JOHN SAYLES OF THE VERMONT FOOD BANK UPDATING US ON THE SITUATION OF HUNGER IN VERMONT.

>> THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

>> IT'S HARD TO SAY, ISN'T IT? WOODCHUCK... WE'RE CELEBRATING 20 YEARS AFTER FACING BANKRUPTCY BACK IN 2003.

>> GOOD JOB. WE GOT A SNEAK PEEK AT A NEW PRODUCT THAT DEBUTS THIS WEEK.

>> THE ORCHARD IS ALMOST PICKED CLEAN, AND NOW THE RUSH IS ON TO SHIP THE APPLES OUT. AT CHAMPLAIN ORCHARDS IN SHOREHAM, ONLY THE BEST-LOOKING FRUIT MAKES IT TO STORE SHELVES.

>> VERMONT AGRICULTURE HAS BEEN WELL-KNOWN FOR QUALITY AND VERMONT PRODUCTS THE SAME.

>> BUT IN EVERY BATCH, THERE'S ALWAYS A FEW BAD APPLES. THEY'RE BRUISED OR TOO SMALL, SO THEY BECOME CIDER. AND NOW THIS FALL FRUIT IS GETTING A NEW LIFE WITH A LITTLE KICK. 20 MINUTES AWAY, THE PRESSED APPLES END UP AT WOODCHUCK HARD CIDER IN MIDDLEBURY.

>> THIS FRUIT IS SOME OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD, LET ALONE VERMONT.

>> THE COMPANY JUST STARTED CRAFTING AN ALCOHOLIC DRINK MADE COMPLETELY OUT OF APPLES FROM ADDISON COUNTY CALLED FARMHOUSE SELECT.

>> VERMONT IS REALLY IN THE HEART AND SOUL OF THE BRAND. IT ALWAYS HAS BEEN.

>> FOUNDER BRETT WILLIAMS CALLS IT A THROWBACK TO THE COMPANY'S BEGINNINGS TWO DECADES AGO.

>> I REMEMBER WHEN WE WERE ONLY BEING SOLD IN A COUPLE OF COUNTRY STORES. AND NOW WE HAVE DISTRIBUTION IN ALL 50 STATES.

>> WOODCHUCK HARD CIDER IS NOW THE LARGEST CIDER PRODUCER IN THE U.S., USING APPLES FROM ALL OTHER THE COUNTRY TO MEET DEMAND. THE COMPANY HAS TRIPLED THE AMOUNT OF CIDER IT'S SOLD IN THE PAST THREE YEARS.

>> THIS WILL RUN ROUGHLY 30 BOTTLES A MINUTE.

>> WOW.

>> NOW, THE MAIN WOODCHUCK LINE IS 600 BOTTLES A MINUTE.

>> CHEERS.

>> CHEERS.

>> THE 20th ANNIVERSARY FARMHOUSE IS A DRIVE CIDER WITH A HIGHER ALCOHOL CONTENT THAN MOST OF WOODCHUCK'S OTHER DRINKS, 6.9%.

>> THAT'S ONE OF THE MOST PROUD THAT WE'VE BEEN OF ANY OF OUR PRODUCTS. IT'S REALLY AN AMAZING LIQUID.

>> BUT FARMHOUSE ALSO CAME WITH CHALLENGES. THE BOTTLES ARE TALL WITH A CORK AND REQUIRED A NEW BOTTLING LINE. THE COMPANY BUILT THIS ASSEMBLY LINE IN A WAREHOUSE BECAUSE THEY WERE OUT OF ROOM. SO DO YOU EVER THINK YOU GUYS ARE GROWING TOO FAST?

>> WELL, ALL I CAN TELL YOU IS THIS: WE ARE BARELY KEEPING UP WITH DEMAND.

>> WILLIAMS THOUGHT THE COMPANY MIGHT SELL 300 CASES OF FARMHOUSE SELECT, BUT ORDERS ARE ALREADY 15 TIMES THAT AMOUNT. SO IT'S ALL HANDS ON DECK. EVEN THE HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER IS HELPING PASTEURIZE BOTTLES. THERE'S NO TIME TO WAIT FOR THE NEW MACHINE TO ARRIVE.

>> THIS IS READY TO BE CONSUMED. IT'S ALMOST LIKE IT'S COMING RIGHT OUT OF YOUR REFRIGERATOR.

>> WOODCHUCK CONTINUES TO GROW, PLANNING TO OPEN A NEW $20 MILLION FACILITY NEXT SPRING IN THE MIDDLEBURY AREA. THE GOAL: MAKE IT A TOURIST DRAW WITH OFFICE SPACE AND MANUFACTURING. THE COMPANY HIRED 30 PEOPLE THIS YEAR AND PLANS TO HIRE AT LEAST 20 PEOPLE NEXT YEAR.

>> DO YOU LOOK AT ALL OF THESE? ARE YOU SURPRISED WHERE THIS COMPANY HAS GONE?

>> I'M AMAZED. I'M FLOORED.

>> GROWTH AT WOODCHUCK FUELED BY CUSTOMERS THAT'S HELPING LOCAL FARMERS LIKE BILL SHORE, WHO ARE THIRSTY FOR NEW MARKETS. THIS GUARANTEES NO APPLES GO THE WASTE.

>> THIS IS TWICE THE AMOUNT OF JUICE WE PRESS IN A YEAR FOR THEM. IT'S A DOUBLING OF THEIR ORDER.

>> A GROWING COMPANY KEEPING A VERMONT FRUIT AT ITS CORE. CHANNEL 3 NEWS, MIDDLEBURY.

>> THE FARMHOUSE SELECT COSTS AROUND $11 A BOTTLE. EACH ONE IS NUMBERED AND SIGNED BY OWNER BRETT WILLIAMS.

>> WELL, IT HAS BEEN MORE THAN TWO MONTHS SINCE TROPICAL STORM IRENE JUST SLAMMED VERMONT, AND MANY PEOPLE ARE STILL WRESTLING WITH THE AFTERMATH.

>> AND SOME ARE STILL WRESTLING WITH THE STORM'S NAME. WE EXPLAIN.

>> THEY COME FROM DIFFERENT WALKS OF LIFE.

>> WE HAVE A TRUCKING COMPANY.

>> I AM A POTTER.

>> THEY LIVE IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE STATE.

>> I WAS IN ESSEX.

>> I LIVE IN GREENSBORO.

>> I LIVE IN GEORGIA, VERMONT.

>> BUT THEY SHARE ONE INSEPARABLE THING, ONE ALMOST UNCANNY THING IN COMMON.

>> MY NAME IS IRENE.

>> MY NAME IS IRENE.

>> MY NAME IS IRENE.

>> IRENE IS BY NO MEANS A COMMON NAME, AT LEAST TODAY, BUT BACK IN THE EARLY 1900s, IRENE WAS IN. ACCORDING TO THIS BOOK, IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST 50 POPULAR GIRLS NAMES IN AMERICA, AND IRENE HASN'T ALWAYS BEEN SYNONYMOUS WITH DESTRUCTION. IT ACTUALLY MEANS "PEACE." IT'S A DEFINITION THAT CERTAINLY FITS THE WOMAN WE ARE CALLING "IRENE NUMBER 1." IRENE 1 IS A CLAY ARTIST.

>> WE LOOK FOR PEACE AND CALM IN OUR LIVES FOR SURE.

>> IRENE NUMBER 2 DOESN'T SEEM TOO THREATENING EITHER.

>> THERE COULD BE WORSE THINGS.

>> AND IRENE 3...

>> OH, OKAY. THIS IRENE IS HARMLESS.

>> BUT YOU HAVEN'T MET IRENE NUMBER 4.

>> IRENE DOES NOT MEAN PEACE. IRENE MEANS IF YOU DON'T PICK UP YOUR UNDERWEAR OFF THE FLOOR, YOU MAY FIND IT UPSTAIRS IN THE TV STAND.

>> AN IRENE THAT PUTS EVEN THE HURRICANE TO SHAME.

>> YOU SIGH THE NAME IRENE, YOU THINK OF NICE LITTLE OLD LADIES CROCHETING AFGHANS BY THE FIRE. IRENE IS LIKE A HELL CAT. THERE'S A COUPLE SCRAPES FROM IRENE.

>> THAT'S RIGHT. THIS IRENE IS A CAT.

>> JUST LIKE THE STORM, IRENE WILL FINISH YOU OFF. SHE JUMPS IN THE KITCHEN SINK WHEN YOU'RE DOING DISHES. SHE JUMPS IN THE BATHTUB WITH THE KIDS. SHE PROWLS. SHE'LL JUMP IN THE WINDOW.

>> AND TEARS THE HOUSE APART.

>> ABSOLUTELY. TOILET PAPER IS HER FRIEND.

>> FORTUNATELY, THIS IRENE SEEMS TO BE THE EXCEPTION, NOT THE NORM. OTHER THAN, OF COURSE, THE STORM. THE STORM THAT HAS GIVEN THE NAME "IRENE" A WHOLE NEW MEANING.

>> THAT WAS THE WORST-CASE SCENARIO FROM MY CHILDHOOD.

>> ESPECIALLY FOR THESE THREE WOMEN, WHO WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO FORGET THE STORM THAT STOLE THEIR NAME.

>> I'M ALMOST SICK OF HEARING THE NAME.

>> I'LL LIVE WITH IT.

>> YOU'RE STICKING WITH THE NAME?

>> I'LL STICK WITH THE NAME. IT WILL BE THE LAST TIME THAT I'LL BE A HURRICANE.

>> A GROUP OF VERMONT MIDWIVES IS GETTING NATIONAL ATTENTION FOR THEIR WORK SAVING THE LIVES OF BABIES OVERSEAS.

>> THE GROUP HAS OFFICES IN BARRE AND HELPS RUN CLINICS FOR NEW MOMS IN INDONESIA. WE SPENT THE DAY LOOKING AT THE WORK THEY DO.

>> THE VITAMIN ANGELS CHILDREN'S VITAMINS...

>> OUT OF THIS BARN IN BARRE, WOMEN ARE WORKING TO SAVE BABIES AROUND THE WORLD.

>> WOMEN ESPECIALLY AREN'T VERY WELL NOURISHED.

>> KATHERINE BRAHAMHALL IS WITH A NON-PROFIT GROUP HELPING MOMS WHO LACK ACCESS TO BASIC PRENATAL CARE. THE GOAL: MAKE CHILDBIRTH A POSITIVE AND HEALTHY EXPERIENCE.

>> ANY OF US WHO HAVE EVER HAD A CHILD, NO MATTER HOW OLD YOU ARE OR HOW YOUNG YOU ARE, AS A MOTHER YOU KNOW YOU NEVER FORGET THAT EXPERIENCE.

>> THE BARRE MIDWIVES ARE WORKING WITH 15 OTHER VERMONTERS AND TEAM OVERSEAS TO BUILD AND OPERATE BIRTHING CLINICS AROUND THE WORLD. IT SET UP SHOP IN HAITI FOLLOWING THE MASSIVE EARTHQUAKE THERE AND IS RUNNING TWO PERMANENT CLINICS IN INDONESIA. THE LIFESAVING WORK HAS EARNED THE GROUP A NOMINATION FROM CNN FOR ITS 2011 CNN HERO AWARD.

>> SO MANY WOMEN IN OUR CULTURE DON'T HAVE THE TANGIBLE SUPPORT OF A GENTLE CHILDBIRTH EXPERIENCE SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT THEM AND BELIEVE IN THEM.

>> EVERY YEAR THE GROUP DONATES BLANKETS, DIAPERS AND MORE THAN 2,000 BOTTLES OF THESE PRENATAL VITAMINS TO NEW MOMS OVERSEAS, AND ALL OF THEM ARE MADE RIGHT HERE IN VERMONT.

>> EVERY WOMAN THAT HAS A BABY, THEY GET TO LEAVE WITH A BABY BLANKET, AN OUTFIT, TOOTHBRUSHES IF THEIR FAMILY NEEDS THEM AND VITAMINS. THAT'S A LOT OF STUFF COMING FROM VERMONT INTO NEEDY HANDS OF INDONESIANS.

>> ERIN IS A VOLUNTEER. LAST YEAR SHE SPENT FOUR MONTHS WORKING AS A MID-WIFE IN INDONESIA. SHE AND HER FAMILY PLAN TO RETURN TO THE ISLAND NATION NEXT YEAR.

>> HERE IN VERMONT WOMEN HAVE A LOT OF OPTIONS. THEIR OPTIONS ARE ALL SAFE. IT'S VERY LIKELY THEY OR THEIR BABIES WILL DIE IN CHILDBIRTH, BUT IN THE REST OF THE WORLD, IT'S NOT SUCH A SAFE OPTION.

>> THE GROUP WORKS WITH LOCAL MIDWIVES, HELPING DELIVER ABOUT 80 BABIES A MONTH. THEY'RE IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL, HOPING TO OPEN ANOTHER CLINIC SOON.

>> IT'S A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AS A WOMAN AND AS A MOTHER TO BE ABLE TO JUST COME HOME AND KNOW THAT I'M NEVER GOING TO SAVE THE WORLD, WE'RE NEVER GOING TO SAVE THE WORLD, BUT WE'RE COMMITSED TO ONE MOTHER, ONE FAMILY AT A TIME.

>> A SIMPLE MISSION ROOTED IN THE GREEN MOUNTAIN STATE THAT'S CHANGING LIVES THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY. KEITH McGILLIVARY, CHANNEL 3 NEWS, BARRE.

>> THE GROUP IS ONE OF TEN ENTRIES FOR CNN'S HERO OF THE YEAR AWARD. IT'S DETERMINE BY PUBLIC VOTING. TO VOTE FOR THE GROUP OR SEE THE OTHER NOMINEE, YOU CAN FIND A LINK ON OUR WEB SITE, WCAX.COM.

>> GO VOTE AND GOOD LUCK TO YOU. WE'LL SEE YOU SOON, EVERYBODY.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • People's United: Retirement Plan Updates

    People's United: Retirement Plan Updates

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:45 AM EDT2014-04-24 11:45:35 GMT
    The Internal Revenue Service is requiring companies to update their retirement plan documents.More >>
    The Internal Revenue Service is requiring companies to update their retirement plan documents.More >>
  • Rutland pharmacist accused of stealing meds

    Rutland pharmacist accused of stealing meds

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:43 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:43:47 GMT
    In Rutland a pharmacist is accused of stealing meds from his employer. 32-year-old Brandon Cigana worked at the Walgreens Pharmacy on Woodstock Avenue. Prosecutors say he used his position there to access the pharmacy's inventory stealing regulated drugs like benzodiazepines, Hydrocodone and Suboxone for himself without a prescription. The Whitehall, New York man faces up to two years behind bars.More >>
    In Rutland a pharmacist is accused of stealing meds from his employer. 32-year-old Brandon Cigana worked at the Walgreens Pharmacy on Woodstock Avenue. Prosecutors say he used his position there to access the pharmacy's inventory stealing regulated drugs like benzodiazepines, Hydrocodone and Suboxone for himself without a prescription. The Whitehall, New York man faces up to two years behind bars.More >>
  • Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:04 GMT
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End. Police and the U.S. Marshal's raided this home on Cedar Street around 8 o'clock. They say they seized heroin and cocaine. Six people were inside when authorities went in. But they're not saying how many arrests were made. The raid was part of an ongoing drug investigation.More >>
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End. Police and the U.S. Marshal's raided this home on Cedar Street around 8 o'clock. They say they seized heroin and cocaine. Six people were inside when authorities went in. But they're not saying how many arrests were made. The raid was part of an ongoing drug investigation.More >>
  • Fire damages Lyndonville tree farm

    Fire damages Lyndonville tree farm

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:21 GMT
    Fire has damaged ten acres of a Lyndonville tree farm. Eight department were called in to battle the blaze. And it took four hours to get the flames under control. Fire officals say a discarded cigarette combined with dry conditions are to blame. One firefighter suffered from minor smoke inhalation.More >>
    Fire has damaged ten acres of a Lyndonville tree farm. Eight department were called in to battle the blaze. And it took four hours to get the flames under control. Fire officals say a discarded cigarette combined with dry conditions are to blame. One firefighter suffered from minor smoke inhalation.More >>
  • A warning for bird watchers: Give eagles space

    A warning for bird watchers: Give eagles space

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:36 GMT
    Bird watchers are being reminded to give nesting bald eagles plenty of space. The Vermont Fish Wildlife Department is urging anyone who sees a nesting eagle not to get closer than 300 feet. Activity too close to their nest can result in them abandoning their young. Harassing a bald eagle is illegal and a violation of the state endangered species statute.More >>
    Bird watchers are being reminded to give nesting bald eagles plenty of space. The Vermont Fish Wildlife Department is urging anyone who sees a nesting eagle not to get closer than 300 feet. Activity too close to their nest can result in them abandoning their young. Harassing a bald eagle is illegal and a violation of the state endangered species statute.More >>
  • Gun fired into New Haven home

    Gun fired into New Haven home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:48 GMT
    Police are searching for who fired a gun into a home in New Haven. It happened late Tuesday night at 2420 Munger Street. Police say a bullet passed through a window of the home. Luckily no one was hurt. Investigators say a stop sign at the intersection of Munger Street and Cobble Road had also been shot. Anyone with information should call state police.More >>
    Police are searching for who fired a gun into a home in New Haven. It happened late Tuesday night at 2420 Munger Street. Police say a bullet passed through a window of the home. Luckily no one was hurt. Investigators say a stop sign at the intersection of Munger Street and Cobble Road had also been shot. Anyone with information should call state police.More >>
  • What triggered a shooting inside the Bennington police station?

    What triggered a shooting inside the Bennington police station?

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:57 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:57:35 GMT
    A Bennington man is in stable condition after being shot by an officer inside the Bennington Police Department. Investigators say Gregory Filo had a knife and was behaving erratically.More >>
    A Bennington man is in stable condition after being shot by an officer inside the Bennington Police Department. Investigators say Gregory Filo had a knife and was behaving erratically.More >>
  • Former Fortune 500 exec indicted in fatal NH crash

    Former Fortune 500 exec indicted in fatal NH crash

    A New Hampshire grand jury has indicted a former Fortune 500 executive on second-degree murder charges in connection with a crash that killed a Vermont couple in December.More >>
    A New Hampshire grand jury has indicted a former Fortune 500 executive on second-degree murder charges in a crash that killed a Vermont couple in December.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.