RUTLAND—The Rutland Regional Planning Commission (RRPC) and the Rutland Farm and Food Link (RAFFL) have been selected to host AmeriCorps VISTA positions. For the next year, Monika Ganguly-Kiefner, a recent graduate of Green Mountain College in Poultney, will be working for RRPC, and Jenn Simons, who graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2012, will join the RAFFL staff.
Ganguly-Kiefner will be working to ensure that RRPC regional programs designed to alleviate poverty are reaching low-income residents in the Rutland Region. She will be working on building healthy communities projects as part of a Vermont Health Department grant. Ganguly-Kiefner said, “I’m excited that my work at the RRPC will ultimately help the region become a stronger community—for all residents.”
Simons will be working with RAFFL to help low-income individuals find affordable fresh local food as well as learn how to incorporate more nutritious ingredients into the food they buy. Simons, who has been a farm and greenhouse apprentice in Nebraska, will be responsible for building RAFFL’s Glean Team program’s volunteer base.
RAFFL director Tara Kelly said, “Jenn is bringing great, positive energy and skills that will increase the amount of fresh, nutritional food we glean from area farms and distribute to Rutland area residents who are struggling to make ends meet. She will also further develop our systems for this program, extending her contribution well beyond her one-year term of service.”
AmeriCorps VISTA is the national service program designed specifically to fight poverty. It began as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965 and joined the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993.