The Prudential Foundation is partnering with Prudential Annuities to leverage resources to address a major shortage at Valley-area food banks. A total of $24,000 in grants from The Foundation and three other funding partners was raised to restock depleted shelves at six area food banks and pantries to meet immediate needs.
“Hunger and food insecurity continues to be a growing epidemic in the United States given the current economy, “ said Lata Reddy, Vice President, Corporate Social responsibility at Prudential and President of The Prudential Foundation. “When we learned about this crisis from The Valley United Way, we welcomed the opportunity to join the local community to address this critical issue.”
In addition to The Prudential Foundation, the grants were from the Valley United Way, the Valley Community Foundation and the R.D. Scinto Company. The six agencies that will receive the funds are:
When the seriousness of the food shortage surfaced at a meeting of United Way’s Corporate Volunteer Council, Katie Scinto, of R.D. Scinto, offered to donate $2,000 if that amount could be matched. Scinto said, “As I sat and listened I realized that families might be turned away unless we acted immediately to do something to fix it the situation.”
Following a similar discussion at the Valley Community Foundation, the United Way met with VCF and the six food banks to determine the extent of the need and its causes. The food banks reported the shortage was caused by a dramatic increase in the demand for food driven largely by ongoing unemployment and the struggling economy. The United Way and the Valley Community Foundation each pledged $5,000, which increased the pool to $12,000.
When The Prudential Foundation was informed of the food shortage and the money that had already been pledged, it provided a $12,000 matching grant.
Fred Ortoli, Chairman of the Board at Valley United Way said, “This is a unique example of how the Valley works together to resolve its pressing needs. The cooperative spirit of the providers is extraordinary as is the leadership and community spirit exhibited by the funders. The fact that this happened so quickly is a tribute to their generosity and concern for the quality of life in the Valley.”
Jamie Cohen, President of the Valley Community Foundation, indicated that the problem was brought to his attention by Joseph Pagliaro Jr., a VCF Board member, who is also the current United Way Campaign Chair. Cohen said “Our Board responded immediately, and authorized $5,000 for this purpose. One of the remarkable things about the Valley is how we take care of own. This is another demonstration of that kind of caring.”
Michael Wynne (Parent Child Resource Center), Bob Lally (St. Vincent dePaul Society), Major Theresa Burkholder (Salvation Army) Jim Guerrera (St. Vincent dePaul Society), Hary Youst (Seymour/Oxford Food Bank) and Susan Agamy (Spooner House) were even happier than the funders to receive their grants!