Vermont Everyone Eats has been relaunched through continued partnerships supporting restaurants, farms, and Vermonters seeking help.
In the dwindling days of 2020 with CARES Act funding coming to an end, scores of inquiries were made to community organizers:
Is Everyone Eats ending?
When will it come back?
On Monday Jan. 18 it returned, thanks to recent fundraising. Meal distribution in Rutland at the Vermont Farmers’ Food Center will begin Jan. 25 at 4 p.m.
Additionally, last week, Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) allocated $1.6 million to Southeastern Vermont Community Action, the Everyone Eats program administrator, to relaunch programming.
While this allocation only funds three weeks of Everyone Eats programming, partners across the state including the Scott administration and Legislature are working together to identify additional funding opportunities.
All partners agree that the goal is to fund the program through the state of emergency.
Additional support has come from the Vermont Community Foundation and independent donors have contributed nearly $20,000.
Everyone Eats purchases to-go meals from local restaurants to feed Vermont communities. Vermonters across the state have celebrated how the program creatively provides economic support to restaurants and their employees, new revenue opportunities for Vermont farmers and food producers, and nourishing meals served with dignity and care to those seeking assistance. In 2020, Everyone Eats funded over 530,000 meals, injecting $5.3 million into local restaurants and nearly $500,000 to Vermont farms and food producers.
According to Ted Brady, deputy secretary of ACCD, “Everyone Eats is a perfect example of what makes Vermont special. This creative public-private partnership has allowed communities all around the state to rise up and support their local economies while caring for neighbors in need of help. Volunteers, restaurant workers, farmers, organizers, and lawmakers can be proud of how we have all united to help one another. And we’re going to keep at it.”
Food insecurity has skyrocketed during the Covid-19 crisis with 1 in 3 Vermonters now reporting they have trouble getting enough nourishing food.
While Everyone Eats does not solve food insecurity it has become an important part of the relief offered. VEE Statewide Coordinator Jean Hamilton observed, “This program has provided clear evidence of the power of strong communities. No one can do it alone; together we are more resilient. I hope participation in this program makes it easier for folks to seek help from other important resources like 3SquaresVT and School Meals. All of these programs can help you get through a tough time and support the local economy.”
Everyone Eats is operated in all 14 counties by local community organizations. Program relaunch plans vary.
For more information about Vermont Everyone Eats visit vteveryoneeats.org.