Demonstrates The Junior League’s longstanding commitment to addressing issues that affect women and children

New Orleans, LA – June 6, 2011 Susan Danish, Executive Director of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., Melissa Norris, Immediate Past President of the Junior League of Collin County in Texas, and Peggy Berry, a sustaining member of the Junior League of Tyler, also in Texas, and Development Director of the East Texas Food Bank, will speak at the 2011 National Conference on Volunteering and ServiceJune 6-8 in New Orleans.  Their topic is food insecurity, a growing problem in the U.S. and elsewhere.

According to a June 5 New York Times front page article, the agricultural system that the world relies on faces an uncertain future.  The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimated the number of hungry people in the world at 925 million last year, and that number is expected to rise with this year’s estimate.  The World Bank fears the new number could be as high as 940 million.

“Food is a critical link in the health and wellness of millions of at-risk Americans of all ages,” said Ms. Danish.  “The work that the Junior Leagues of Collin County and Tyler have done to address food-related problems demonstrates the long-standing commitment of The Junior League to address issues like this at the community level with the commitment, energy and resources of volunteers.”

In 2004, The Junior League of Collin County, then known as the Junior League of Plano, identified a need within its community: food pantries such as the Plano Food Pantry required fresh produce for their clients. Partnering with the City of Plano on issues such as land use and irrigation, the League and a far-ranging variety of community volunteer partners, including school and church groups, Girl and Boy Scout troops, and local businesses, spent the next seven years planting and harvesting produce ranging from mustard greens, green beans and radishes to cucumbers and squash. To date, more than 6,000 residents have benefited from several tons of produce harvested.

In Tyler in 2006, it was low-income senior citizens who were the target of a food security initiative that has been recognized by the U.S.D.A. and also serves as a template for other communities around the country. The Junior League of Tyler partnered with Meals on Wheels and the East Texas Food Bank not only to cover the meal gap on weekends during which some seniors were going without food or purchasing badly needed medications (rather than food) with the limited funds of a fixed income, but also to ensure that the meals delivered were more wholesome, nutritious, sensitive to special dietary requirements resulting from individual health conditions, and packaged in a way that seniors could both access and prepare them with minimal effort. To date, “Senior Servings™” has increased the number of seniors it serves by 270 percent and has served as a template, sanctioned by the U.S.D.A. for communities around the country.

About the National Conference on Volunteering and Service
The National Conference on Volunteering and Service is the world's largest gathering of volunteer leaders from the nonprofit, government and corporate sectors. Convened by Points of Light Institute and the Corporation for National and Community Service, the annual event provides attendees with an opportunity to learn, connect and shape the future of service and volunteering through plenary sessions, workshops, special events and service projects. The 2011 conference takes place June 6 - 8 in New Orleans. For more information, visit http://www.volunteeringandservice.org

About The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc.
Founded in 1901 by New Yorker and social activism pioneer, Mary Harriman, the Junior Leagues are charitable nonprofit organizations of women, developed as civic leaders, creating demonstrable community impact.

Today, The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) is comprised of more than 155,000 women in 292 Junior Leagues throughout Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. Together, they constitute one of the largest, most effective volunteer organizations in the world. 


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