URI graduate receives anti-hunger leadership award

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KINGSTON, R.I. –January 7, 2009– Leah Murphy of Newport, who just completed requirements for her nursing degree at the University of Rhode Island, was presented the Dorothy Shackleton Anti-Hunger Leadership Award last month for her outstanding work at the URI Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America. The award came with a $100 check.

Building on her interest in health and her concern for individuals struggling to live on limited incomes, Murphy began working as an outreach worker for URI’s hunger center in the fall of 2007.

She assisted hundreds of low-income individuals access the benefits of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) in homeless shelters and community meal sites, as well as, through her work at clinics and health fairs. The Anti-Hunger Leadership Award is given to students who demonstrate extensive knowledge of hunger and poverty issues and who use their skills to participate in education and outreach activities in the community. Dorothy Shackleton, a former employee with the Department of Human Services, started the fund with a donation.

“The need for sensitive and effective outreach is extremely important, and Leah was an excellent outreach worker and a good role model for other students, said Maria Cimini, coordinator of the Rhode Island SNAP Outreach Program at URI and Murphy’s supervisor. “I was continually impressed with Leah’s nurturing nature. She listens without judgment, alters her approach and tone to put people at ease and worked diligently to educate people in need about the benefits of SNAP. Additionally, she incorporated her passion for health and nutrition into her outreach efforts both in the community and with her fellow outreach workers.”

When presenting the award to Murphy, Kathleen Gorman, director of the URI Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America, shared the importance of SNAP Outreach. “SNAP is a federally funded program that puts money into the pockets of our neediest neighbors allowing them to purchase adequate, nutritious food for their families. With many thousands of Rhode Islanders eligible for SNAP benefits but not receiving them, we need more passionate, educated people, like Leah, to get involved in ending hunger by ensuring that all low-income families are receiving the nutritional assistance they need.”

The URI Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America coordinates Rhode Island’s SNAP Outreach Project through a contract with the R.I. Department of Human Services with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture


The URI Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America is an educational center committed to developing solutions to the problem of hunger in Rhode Island and nationwide. The Center promotes education, research, and outreach on the causes and consequences of hunger and the study of policies and programs aimed at alleviating hunger.

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AWARDED: Leah Murphy (left) of Newport is thanked by Kathleen Gorman, director of the URI Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America, for her outstanding work at the center.