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Former CT POW Fights Hunger

November 17, 2010

SIMSBURY, Conn. - A Connecticut World War Two veteran says he knows what it's like to be hungry, and for years he has helped put food on area tables at Thanksgiving. Jack Bannan turns 87 this year, but that hasn't stopped him from participating in an event today (Wednesday) that he created 17 years ago.

The "Jack Bannan Turkey Trot" helps raise turkeys and cash to feed the hungry at Thanksgiving and throughout the year.
Jack's daughter, Marianne Bannan, says her dad was motivated to help by his experiences as a prisoner of war.

"My dad was a POW in World War Two, captured in the Battle of the Bulge and was a prisoner in a German POW camp for about five months."

She says Jack nearly starved to death in that camp. As a teacher in the early 1990s, he heard about a shortage of Thanksgiving turkeys for families. He formed the Turkey Trot to help Foodshare with its "Turkeys and Twenties" campaign that encourages people to donate a turkey for the holiday and $20 to help feed Connecticut's hungry the rest of the year.

Marianne Bannan, who now helps organize the annual event, says her dad was motivated to help when he learned there were people in Connecticut going without Thanksgiving meals.

"Back in 1993, he heard on the radio that Foodshare had a shortage of about 3,000 turkeys versus requests for the Thanksgiving holiday."

This year Foodshare hopes to raise $650,000 and 19,000 turkeys, with help from folks like Jack Bannan. Today, a Simsbury police officer will escort Jack from his nursing home to lead the charge. There's more information about this event and other Foodshare campaigns at www.foodshare.org.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - CT