Competition spurs volunteerism at Vermont Foodbank

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(Neal Charnoff) A corporate food fight is in progress in Barre, but it’s not what you might think. The Vermont Foodbank has developed the competition, which brings teams of workers together from Vermont businesses. They spend a morning or afternoon packing, sorting, or working in the community kitchen. Companies compete for a year-end trophy.

Deborah Flateman is the chief executive officer of the Vermont Foodbank. She says that the participating companies have been very happy with the results.

(Flateman) “What the corporations are finding is that it’s a great way to bring people together and do team building. I mean, there’s nothing better than working together on a box packing line or helping out in the warehouse, or helping out in the community kitchen – knowing that you’re doing something good for the community and at the same time working together outside of the office in a new venue.”

(Charnoff) Flateman says that volunteerism directly affects how many people the Foodbank can serve.

(Flateman) “In our particular operation, because there are so many facets that require hands on work, the more people that we can attract to come in and help us with these tasks directly affects our bottom line.”

(Charnoff) Last year, volunteers accounted for 23,000 hours of time, or the equivalent of 11 full-time employees.

On Wedensday, employees from Green Mountain Power were busy at work in the warehouse. They’ll be directly in competition with other corporations, such as Ben and Jerry’s and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Mary Pat Cawley is with the Green Mountain Power team.

(Cawley) “We are thrilled to be here, this is the second time we’ve done it and everybody is so excited. We sent about 60 people, I think about close to 60 people will come today. I think everybody has a great feeling about what we’re doing here, and it’s great for the company – everybody working together.

(Charnoff) Deborah Flateman says that the Vermont Foodbank is always looking for on-site volunteers around the state, and people can sign up for their Saturday Sort-a-thons.

Related link:
Information on the Corporate Food Fight and other programs is online at

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