March 23, 2009
Statewide Food Drive to Help Virginians Survive Economic Downturn
For Release: March 23, 2009
Contact: David Clementson
‘Legal Food Frenzy’ to Raise 1.5 Million Pounds of Food for the Hungry
Updated: Mar 22, 2009
Two-Week Competition Among Law Firms Starts Monday, March 30
RICHMOND – Donations to Virginia’s food banks are down, and demand is hitting a record high. That’s the focus of this year’s “Legal Food Frenzy.” And the timing couldn’t be better. The Attorney General’s 3rd annual “Legal Food Frenzy” aims to raise 1.5 million pounds of food for the hungry during the next two weeks.
Now in its third year, Virginia’s statewide food-and-funds drive by lawyers has become so popular that other states – including North Carolina, Indiana, New Jersey, Florida and Nebraska -- may copy it.
According to Leslie Van Horn, executive director of the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, “The Legal Food Frenzy competition could not come at a better time. Food Banks throughout the Commonwealth are currently experiencing an historic surge in demand for assistance.”
The statewide competition pits law offices against each other. It starts Monday, March 30, and runs through April 10. It is open to all lawyers and members of the legal community across Virginia. Virginia law firms can sign up now by visiting www.legalfoodfrenzy.com.
Founded by former Attorney General Bob McDonnell, the benevolent contest raises food and funds for Virginia’s Food Banks during a traditionally slow period for donations. The “Legal Food Frenzy” is the first statewide food drive in the history of the Federation of Virginia Food Banks.
The competition was started in 2007 by the Attorney General’s Office, Virginia Bar Association and Federation of Virginia Food Banks. They based the idea on a similar regional event held every year since 1990 in Hampton Roads.
In the first year of the statewide “Legal Food Frenzy,” nearly 679,000 pounds of food were raised. That amount doubled in 2008, when more than 1.3 million pounds of food were donated, the equivalent of 1.1 million meals. Last year’s competition featured 181 law firms, ranging from sole proprietors to the largest firms in the Commonwealth.
The goal for this year’s 3rd annual “Legal Food Frenzy” is 1.5 million pounds. The law firm that raises the most food per capita wins “The Attorney General’s Cup.”
“In this economy, the role of the food banks has never been more crucial,” Virginia Attorney General Bill Mims said. “This is a great way for the legal community to give back, and this competition has become a tradition in the Virginia legal community.” Attorney General Mims has been personally kicking-off the competition this month at luncheons at law firms and food banks in McLean, Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke and Charlottesville.
According to Greg Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana, “With the success of Virginia’s first-in-the-nation statewide Legal Food Frenzy, we look to similarly partner with food banks to combat hunger. I hope our efforts in Indiana help take Virginia’s successful Legal Food Frenzy to the next level nationally.”
According to Roy Cooper, Attorney General of North Carolina, “During these difficult economic times, more and more families are turning to local food banks for help. To help meet this need, I’m pleased to work with North Carolina food banks and my state’s legal community to create a statewide food drive modeled after the successful Legal Food Frenzy in Virginia.”
According to Chris Gill of the Virginia Bar Association and Christian & Barton law firm in Richmond, “With the downturn in the economy sending so many more Virginians to the food banks' shelves, the success of this project is even more important this year. The Virginia Bar Association is pleased to work with Attorney General Mims to challenge all Virginia lawyers to expand upon the tremendous efforts over the last two years.”
Last year’s winning firm was Schettine & Nguyen, PLC of Richmond, a three-lawyer firm that brought in 4,200 pounds of food per person. “As a small law firm, we were excited about the opportunity to make a positive impact on our community, and pleasantly surprised that we actually won ‘The Attorney General’s Cup,’” Jim Schettine said.
Van Horn, of the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, added, “We have always said that there are three faces of hunger – the working poor, children and senior citizens. But now there is a fourth face of hunger and one everyone knows – your neighbor, or a co-worker’s spouse, who has been laid off or their company has closed and they are unable to find a new job. The legal community in Virginia has been extremely generous during the first two years of the statewide Legal Food Frenzy and we know they are more excited than ever to help us make a difference to so many in need.”