Authored by: Tom Lewis

One of my main roles as Community Food Coordinator is to provide capacity building and technical assistance to partner organizations throughout our service area. Much of this work is funded through the Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF), a unique grant program that provides resources focused on eliminating the root causes of hunger. We were fortunate to be one of the 11 recipients of the previous round of funding from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. The VGF program enabled us to expand our Community Food Program and provide project management, technical assistance, volunteer recruitment and management, and communications support for 15 community food projects in 5 counties.

Last month, state program staff with the Commission on National and Community Service hosted a full-day training at their offices in Rensselaer, New York for VGF program coordinators. The training was an excellent opportunity to meet fellow coordinators doing extraordinary work across the state. The day began with a keynote address focused on the emerging issue of college food insecurity and the ways the SUNY system is looking to implement solutions. During the rest of the training we learned about initiatives at the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, data collection and visualization strategies, and current projects our fellow VGF recipients are undertaking. Overall, the training was a great opportunity to learn new skills and network with my fellow coordinators!