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Pre-Thanksgiving Fast Will Raise Awareness of Local Hunger. Monday, November 19, 2007

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – Over two million New Yorkers rely on Emergency Food Programs (EPFs) each year, such as the food pantry and soup kitchen operated by Dutchess Outreach, a local non-profit organization fighting hunger in the community. Facts like these prompt the fifth annual Hunger Awareness Fast at Vassar College, on Monday, November 19 from 10:00am to 5:00 pm. This free daylong series of public programs is designed to raise political and spiritual awareness of hunger and poverty issues, and will be held in conjunction with the Hunger Action Network of New York State’s (HANNYS) annual Thanksgiving Action Against Hunger.

Hunger Awareness Fast programs will take place on the Vassar campus, at the Vassar Farm, and at the Lunch Box, the downtown Poughkeepsie soup kitchen run by Dutchess Outreach. Rabbi Rena Blumenthal, the college's advisor to Jewish students, will lead the programs held in the Rose Parlor of Vassar's Main Building. The daylong schedule includes:

Gathering of Intentions for Fasters

10:00 a.m.
Rose Parlor, Main Building
Vassar College
This room will be made available all day for fasters and non-fasting supporters to gather for conversation and quiet reflection. Materials and information about world and local hunger will be available.

Vegetable Harvest at the Poughkeepsie Farm Project

10:30-11:45 a.m.
Poughkeepsie Farm Project
Vassar College Farm
The Poughkeepsie Farm Project is a non-profit organization that works toward a just and sustainable food system in the Mid-Hudson Valley. It operates a member-supported garden at the Vassar farm, which grows over seven acres of vegetables. The Poughkeepsie Farm Project has donated over 16,000 pounds of produce, per season, to local soup kitchens and shelters. The harvest will be delivered at noon to The Lunchbox soup kitchen.

Delivery of Harvested Produce to the Lunchbox

12:00 p.m.
The Lunchbox
Family Partnership Center, 29 N. Hamilton St.
Fresh produce from the Poughkeepsie Farm Project will be delivered.

Midday Gathering

1:00-1:30 p.m.
Rose Parlor, Main Building
This event will be an opportunity for participants to share poetry, songs, prayers, or readings.

1:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Vassar Library Lawn
(Rain location will be the Rose Parlor in Main Building)
An interactive art project that illustrates the issues surrounding poverty and hunger will be created throughout the day.

Conversation with Fasters

4:00-5:00 p.m.
Rose Parlor, Main Building
Various topics related to fasting will be discussed, including the cultural traditions and purposes of fasts.

Break Fast

5:00 p.m.
Rose Parlor, Main Building
A meal of soup and bread catered by Zorona’s, a local Middle Eastern restaurant

Vassar's Hunger Action Committee encourages charitable donations to Dutchess Outreach, as part of the daylong event. The Hunger Action Network of New York State (HANNYS) was created in 1982 to work with emergency food providers, low-income individuals, religious and secular agencies and concerned individuals to address the root causes of hunger in New York through education and advocacy.

For more information, contact Rebecca Weinberg of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, at (845) 437-5577. Co-sponsors for the Hunger Awareness Fast include the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, Vassar Hunger Action Committee, and Dutchess Outreach. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Campus Activities, at (845) 437-5370.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Thursday, November 8, 2007