New Hampshire Food Bank and State Farm are Neighbors feeding neighbors

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State Farm volunteers help prepare New Hampshire Food Bank’s Production Garden for a new season.

MANCHESTER, NH – Nearly 94,000 New Hampshire residents experience hunger, according to Feeding America’s 2021 Map the Meal Gap. Over 21,500 of these residents are food-insecure children. Sometimes the difference between a family using a food program and one that doesn’t is the sudden loss of a job, an illness, or an unexpected rise in health care or utility payments.

Fortunately, New Hampshire Food Bank (NHFB), founded on World Food Day in 1984, supports individuals and families throughout the state. NHFB, a program of Catholic Charities NH, is a non-profit that serves as the only food bank in New Hampshire. NHFB has established itself as a vital distributor and supplier to more than 400 partner hunger relief organizations, such as food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, children’s programs, senior centers, and more.

In 2010, NHFB moved to its current home, a 60,000-square-foot facility in Manchester. Each year, the organization distributes tens of millions of pounds of food from this facility. The mission is to feed hungry people by soliciting and distributing nutritious food and offering innovative programs through a statewide network of approved agencies. NHFB also advocates for systemic change and educates the public about the nature of, and solutions to, problems of hunger in New Hampshire.

In 2023, NHFB provided 16.3 million pounds of food – or 13.6 million meals – to hungry New Hampshire residents.

NHFB relies on donors, like State Farm, to carry out its mission. Since 2017, State Farm has provided NHFB with $56,000 to support the Recipe for Success Culinary Job Training Program. The free, eight-week program trains people seeking employment and those looking to improve their skills in the food service industry. This program focuses on the safe use of kitchen implements and equipment, nutrition, the identification of food and ingredients, safe food handling, and more. Students also gain experience by preparing and serving meals at catering events. To further the students’ overall professional development, classes also provide training on conflict management, basic financial skills, resume writing and interview techniques.

“At State Farm, part of our mission is to help people realize their dreams,” says State Farm Sales Leader Jill Braun. “We believe everyone deserves access to the tools and resources needed to create successful futures. The Recipe for Success Program is a perfect example. This program not only provides culinary job training to those in need, but also help students thrive in other aspects in life.”

In addition to funding, State Farm also provides volunteer service. Jill and a group of agents and employees recently volunteered in NHFB’s Production Garden. With shovels and rakes in hand, the group helped prepare the Food Bank’s one acre of land for a new season of planting – reestablishing growing beds and pathways. Since 2008, the garden has been a vital resource for NHFB, providing fresh produce which is made available to NHFB’s more than 400 partner programs. The garden also supports the Culinary Job Training kitchen. The foods are used in thousands of meals prepared for partner agencies, like after-school programs. The garden also serves as an educational tool for community groups and other corporate volunteers.

“The NH Food Bank would not be able to do the work we do without our volunteers, and we are grateful to State Farm and their agents for their support and hard work.” said Eileen Liponis, Executive Director, NH Food Bank. “By rolling up their sleeves in our production garden and helping prepare the garden beds for the season, State Farm helps fight hunger here in the Granite State by laying the foundation for a successful growing season and the eventual harvest of fresh, nourishing produce for our neighbors experiencing hunger.”

Visit the NHFB website to learn more about the organization’s programs and services.

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