BRETTON WOODS – Thanks to the generosity of many, the New Hampshire Food Bank is taking steps to make Coos County, where more than one in 10 residents doesn’t know where their next meal will come from, more food “secure.”
Hunger is a big problem in the Granite State, according to Eileen Groll Liponis, the executive director of the New Hampshire Food Bank, where one in nine people, overall, is food insecure.
“Basically,” she said, “that is the population of the City of Manchester.”
Liponis said the rate is one in every 12 children and one in every seven senior citizens, adding that among the state’s 10 counties, Coos County has a food insecurity rate of 11.3%.
Last year, the Food Bank, which is the only food bank in New Hampshire, distributed over 14 million pounds of food statewide, which translates to more than 12 million meals, through 425 partners, including almost two dozen in Coos County.
In July, the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation awarded Catholic Charities, which is the Food Bank’s parent, $329,560 over three years “to strengthen coordination of community food security efforts through the New Hampshire Food Bank to increase access to nutritious food for low-income children and adults throughout Coos County.”
The Food Bank will do this in two ways, Liponis said: by hiring its first Coos County food systems coordinator, who will be based at the Catholic Charities office in Berlin, and by the Food Bank donating a refrigerated food truck to support his or her efforts.
“We are going to begin interviewing at the end of the month for the position and will also be hiring a part-time driver for the refrigerated truck that will be stationed in Berlin for increased deliveries from the NH Food Bank and within Coos,” said Liponis in an e-mail on Monday.
The food systems coordinator “will work with our agencies and the results from a needs assessment study we engaged the Carsey Institute to conduct for us. This will help us prioritize our work to bring increased access to fresh food to the food insecure” in the North Country, Liponis said.
About a month before the award from the Tillotson Fund, dozens of golfers took to the Par 72, 7,004-yard Mount Washington Course at the Omni Mount Washington Resort for the fourth Annual Bretton Woods Memorial Golf Tournament.
The tournament benefits the Omni Hotels & Resorts’ “Say Goodnight to Hunger” campaign, and through it, the national “Feeding America” program which in turn supports food banks in the U.S.
The 2019 Bretton Woods Memorial Golf Tournament raised $28,667.16, which was donated to Liponis and the Food Bank during a Sept. 30 ceremony on the Jewell Terrace at the Mount Washington Hotel.
The money will fund approximately 57,000 meals in Coos County.
Liponis thanked Josh DeBottis, the general manager of the Omni Mount Washington Resort, and the volunteers who ran the golf tournament, on behalf of the food insecure, noting that 97 cents of each dollar will go to feed the hungry.
After the presentations of both a ceremonial and a real check to Liponis, she said partnerships, such as the one with Omni Mount Washington Resort, “allow us to do what we can without federal or state funding.”