News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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March 16, 2010

Terre Haute attorneys competing to raise food, donations for charities

TERRE HAUTE — Terre Haute attorneys are going to see who can set the bar the highest in a competition designed to help hungry families.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller was at the Catholic Charities Food Bank in Terre Haute on Tuesday to announce the start of the second annual “March Against Hunger” campaign, which pits lawyers against each other in a “friendly” competition.

Lawyers “are very competitive,” Zoeller said. “Lawyers all like to win.”

The March Against Hunger, which runs until March 31, is a competition to see which law firms can raise the most money or food donations for Indiana food banks. Last year, several Terre Haute firms, including Fleschner, Stark Tanoos & Newlin, Wilkinson, Goeller, Modesitt, Wilkinson & Drummy and Smock and Etling took part in the competition.

“More than ever, food is needed,” said Thomas Clary, a member of the Wright, Shagley and Lowery law firm, which will also take part in the competition this year. Also speaking at the afternoon media conference with Zoeller, Clary said he hopes to encourage all members of the Terre Haute Bar Association and surrounding bar associations to take part in the competition this year.

In the seven counties served by Catholic Charities of Terre Haute, 1 in 5 children goes to bed at night not knowing where his or her next meal is coming from, said John Etling, the charity’s director. In all, about 75,000 people in the seven-county region are struggling with access to food or proper nutrition, he said.

Last year, 45 Hoosier law offices participated in the March Against Hunger campaign, Zoeller said. There are three divisions in the competition – large firms of 25 or more attorneys, small firms with 24 or fewer, and public and nonprofit agency attorneys.

In Terre Haute, last year’s March Against Hunger drive resulted in contributions of 2,223 pounds of food using a conversion of $1 for five pounds of food, according to information provided by the Indiana Attorney General’s office.

“Last year was bad” for many needy Hoosier families, Zoeller said. “Unfortunately, this year is worse. The needs have outstripped what we can keep up with in Indiana.”

The March Against Hunger campaign will provide food for food banks in all 92 of Indiana’s counties, said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, an Indianapolis-based charity. About 1.6 million Hoosiers qualify for food assistance, she said.

“Whenever people are in trouble, they always turn to their attorneys,” Zoeller said. “I’m pretty proud of the fact that attorneys have stepped up to play this role.”

Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

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