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Citizens Bank Foundation helps fight childhood hunger in Vermont though support of Gardens for Learning

Program to provide access to nutritious food for children and their families

Manchster, N.H. (July 16, 2013) – The Citizens Bank Foundation has contributed $5,000 to Gardens for Learning, a program that helps alleviate childhood hunger during the summer months when free and reduced-price school meals are unavailable. The grant is part of Citizens Helping Citizens Fight Hunger, the bank’s program for helping eradicate hunger.

Gardens for Learning is run by Food Works at Two Rivers Center, a nonprofit organization based in Montpelier, Vermont. It was founded to address the root causes of hunger by returning people back to the land through hands-on community gardening and nutrition education.

“Unfortunately, one in five children in Vermont struggle with hunger on a daily basis,” said Joe Carelli, President of Citizens Bank and RBS Citizens, New Hampshire and Vermont. “Through Food Works’ innovative approach to fighting childhood hunger, more than 500 healthy meals and 600 nutritious snacks were served last year statewide, helping families during the months when they need it most.”

Gardens for Learning plants and cultivates community garden sites in conjunction with many partnering organizations across the state.

Mt. Anthony Middle School (Bennington)– A weekly afterschool gardening club helped grow this garden by more than 6,000 square feet last year. Students maintain the garden all summer, which helps provide healthy meals and snacks to the community. The children also learn about selling produce by participating in farmers markets.

Richford Health Center (Richford) – This community garden site helps feed campers all summer long. The children range in ages from 1 to 15, and 72 percent qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches. During this six-week summer camp, children learn about gardening, cooking and nature.

St. Johnsbury School (St. Johnsbury)– This Gardens for Learning site is run by an afterschool program for children ages 8 to 11. They tend eight raised beds outside the cafeteria and share their harvest and knowledge about healthy eating with other afterschool programs at the school.

Tinmouth Elementary School (Tinmouth) – With a garden located at the elementary school, summer campers are able to garden, harvest the food for eating onsite and take food home to their families. Extra food is donated to the local community food shelf.

Washington County Family Center (Montpelier) – Eighty-seven percent of the preschool-age children who participate at this program site qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches. Children help plant the garden and learn about healthy eating through nutritious cooking demonstrations. Families share the harvest throughout the season.

Green Acres (Barre) – Children come to this Gardens for Learning site three days a week to explore the garden in the morning, harvest and cook during the day, and eat with their families at night.

Highgate Apartments (Barre)– This Gardens for Learning site provides fresh produce and life skills to those who normally lack access to nutritious food. During the six-week program, children prepare and eat nutritious snacks and garden-fresh meals.

“Gardens for Learning educates children and their families about food and nutrition, gardening and cooking – teaching skills that help participants feed themselves for a lifetime,” said Executive Director Gabe Zoerheide of Food Works at Two Rivers Center. “We are grateful for Citizens Bank’s generous support of this program, which is instrumental in our mission to fight childhood hunger in underserved Vermont communities.”

To learn more about the Gardens for Learning program, please visit www.foodworksvermont.org or to access their services, or contact Colleen Korniak, state program coordinator, at 802.223.1515.

Citizens Helping Citizens Fight Hunger is part of the bank’s broader Citizens Helping Citizens program addressing five key areas: hunger, housing, economic development, financial education and volunteerism. Get more information about Citizens Bank’s community initiatives online at www.citizensbank.com/community.

About Citizens Helping Citizens
Grounded in the belief that a good bank gives back to its community and to the people who live there, Citizens Helping Citizens is a program embracing the community goals of RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc. – the commercial bank holding company serving consumer and small business customers as Citizens Bank and Charter One and commercial banking customers as RBS Citizens. The Citizens Helping Citizens program comprises five key initiatives supported directly by RBSCFG and also by its nonprofit charitable foundations, the Citizens Charitable Foundation, the Citizens Bank Foundation and the Charter One Foundation: Citizens Helping Citizens Fight Hunger, Citizens Helping Citizens Provide Shelter, Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities (economic development), Citizens Helping Citizens Teach Money Management (financial education) and Citizens Helping Citizens Give (volunteerism and colleague charitable donations). Across all of these initiatives, Citizens Helping Citizens strives to enhance quality of life and economic vitality in local communities.



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