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Bradburn bids farewell to HOPE

AFTER FIVE YEARS of coordinating and bolstering food programs for Middlebury-based Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects, Lily Bradburn is taking a job as Community Health Program manager for the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps.

MIDDLEBURY — The nonprofit Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects (HOPE) is bidding farewell to its first-ever local food access coordinator, Lily Bradburn, who’s been instrumental in the success of the organization’s food shelf and gleaning efforts that sustain many hundreds of hungry Addison County residents each year.
Bradburn recently announced her departure in order to become Community Health Program manager for the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps. (VYCC). After five years with Middlebury-based HOPE, Bradburn was keen on moving to the Chittenden County area.
“I’m thrilled to be able to join on with another organization that is so in tune with my personal values in continuing work that provides free health care shares through produce grown at the VYCC’s farm,” she told the Independent. “I’ve had my eye on a future living up in Burlington, closer to so many loved ones, and to be able to make that move and continue my passion for food justice is a win-win.”
Her time at HOPE has indeed been fruitful, both literally and figuratively.
Under her leadership and that of longtime HOPE Executive Director Jeanne Montross, thousands of pounds of surplus produce and fruit are gleaned from farms and orchards throughout the county. That produce enhances the nutritional value of food shelf commodities available to local families in need. And with the help of Patricia Hannaford Career Center students, some of the produce is annually converted into delicious soups that recipients can freeze and enjoy during the winter.
Bradburn has also led classes showing people how fruit and veggies can be made into great meals.
Her other tasks at HOPE have included getting produce to various charitable meal sites, spearheading pop-up food distribution events, and ensuring surplus supermarket and bakery goods are ready for distribution each morning.
She leaves with fond memories and satisfaction about a job well done.
“My first thought in reflecting on the last five years is certainly pride,” Bradburn said. “When I came into the position of Local Food Access Coordinator there was so much potential and room to grow in our program, which definitely at times felt intimidating and a tall order to fill, but I’m unbelievably proud of not only the work I’ve been able to accomplish, but all the support and strides made by the farmers we work with, the sites we deliver produce to, the clients who utilize our fresh produce and numerous volunteers and community partners who support our work. I’ve been able to grow so much in my community connections because of this position and I have so much joy and hope in the work Addison County puts into supporting one another.”
Montross praised Bradburn for her many contributions to HOPE, which helps poor Addison County residents who need food, clothing, financial aid to prevent utility shutoffs, and other assistance.
“Lily has helped our local food access program to grow wide and strong,” Montross said. “We’re grateful for the work she has done here for the past five years. We wish her the best in a new position that will allow her to work in a larger arena connecting food and health. And we look forward to finding the person who will keep this work moving on a county level.”
To that end, HOPE is advertising for Bradburn’s replacement. According to the ad, applicants should possess — among other things —  “proven experience as a program coordinator or relevant position, a minimum of two years experience in local food systems, knowledge of using fresh produce to create healthy meals, and knowledge of food safety practices.”
More information can be found at hope-vt.org.
Bradburn is confident HOPE’s food programs have a great future.
“Although my new position will be bringing me up to Burlington, I don’t feel like I will ever truly leave Addison County,” she said. “And knowing our food programs have the strength and sustainability to continue on long after I’m gone is a wonderful reassurance.”
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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