Dane County & Verona Area Needs Network Announce New Partnership
December 18, 2014
Melanie Conklin, Communications Director, 608.267.8823 or 608.635.5796
A new home for VANN in a vacant county building at Badger Prairie will mean new services & an improved environment for the food pantry’s growing clientele.
MADISON: Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced a new partnership with the Verona Area Needs Network (VANN) that will allow the increasingly busy food pantry to relocate and expand its services in a currently underutilized county building. A 15-year lease of the Badger Prairie former administrative building in Verona (for $20 a year) will be introduced to the Dane County Board tonight, and will begin on March 1, 2015, pending board approval.
“Partnering with the Verona Area Needs Network to address the growing needs of its clients is an important next step in our work with the Verona and Fitchburg area,” Parisi said. “Over the past several years we have started up Early Childhood Zones and school-based Rapid Response Mental Health Teams in Verona and this builds on our plan to address challenges and needs in this community.”
VANN approached Dane County, because it was seeing dramatically increased needs in the community and an urgent need for a new home. The number of people served by VANN in 2013 was up 180% over just four years and its current location in an older basement in the former library was inadequate, caused difficulties with accessibility and did not allow for a desired expansion of services.
“VANN provides food and services to our neighbors in need,” said VANN Board of Directors President, Bob Kasieta. “It is vital to respect the dignity of our clientele. This new facility will permit VANN to serve more of our neighbors in a building that affords our clientele the dignity all people deserve.” Kasieta added that fundraising for the move is underway. “I hope people throughout Dane County will help by donating at Vanncares.org.”
The Dane County Community Development Block Grant Commission allocated $100,000 toward renovations for an upgraded facility that will expand the array of services VANN provides to potentially include job training, nutritional education, basic healthcare, such as immunizations, and legal assistance.
The Verona Area Needs Network serves approximately 10,000 people per year and nearly half (48%) are children. It reports that 64% of the families served live in Fitchburg/South Madison and 34% live in the town or city of Verona.
“Our vision is to address inequalities in Dane County on all levels, including specific challenges like the ones faced by the families served by the Verona Area Needs Network,” Parisi concluded. “This partnership is another good, cooperative step towards that goal.”
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