TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- The Food Bank For Westchester hosted more than 100 area hunger-relief agencies in uplifting skills training and networking day Thursday at the Doubletree Hotel in Tarrytown that also marked Hunger Action month.
"Hunger Action Month is meant to help raise public awareness, but today's program is about the agencies -- recognizing them and allowing them to enjoy training sessions and networking to help expand their capacity to do more," Food Bank For Westchester Executive Director Ellen Lynch said. "These agencies and their creators and volunteers make everything happen."
Thursday's program began with a breakfast for the agency members and was highlighted by keynote speaker Joel Berg, the executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. Berg offered a passionate talk on the historical and constant need for assistance to the hungry in America both by private and government agencies through food stamp, school lunch and other programs.
"Things are much, much better than they were in 1910 when the poor had very little assistance aside from soup kitchens," Berg said. "The state and federal government began offering assistance during the Great Depression and those programs have made it possible for people to survive, especially children who may not have had access to healthy food. Those programs are still necessary."
The Food Bank For Westchester's Agency Day training sessions focused on educating its members about nutrition, grant-writing, disaster preparedness and other topics that would help grow community organizations.
"One of the agency creators started her work in around 1981 by helping her next door neighbor - a mom and three children - when the primary wage earner, the father, died," Lynch said. "She started cooking for them and bringing them meals and now she feeds 3,000 people a month. The 197 agencies in our group each have that kind of passion and we want to assist them in their growth."
For more information, log on to the Food Bank For Westchester website.