Program supports hungry Vermonters and local restaurants, farmers, food producers
The state of Vermont has granted an extension through April 1, 2022, for Vermont Everyone Eats (VEE), the innova- tive Covid-19 response program that provides meal assistance to Vermonters while supporting local restaurants, farmers, and food producers.
Vermont Farmers Food Center, Rutland County’s food hub, has distributed over 190,000 nutritious meals to community members negatively impacted by Covid-19, as the acting Rutland County hub for the state VEE pro-gram. Averaging around 3,000 meals per week in Rutland County, the program has injected $1.93 million into county restaurants. All meals are prepared with a portion of locally sourced ingredients by local restaurants, and have been distributed through VFFC’s West Street campus and partnering satellite sites since August 2020.
The program in Windsor County is operated by the VEE “hub” Upper Valley Everyone Eats (UVEE), administered by Vital Communities. Since September of 2020, with the partnership of over 45 Upper Valley food assistance distribution partners, UVEE has distributed over 147,000 meals to Upper Valley Vermonters experiencing food insecurity. The program pays partner restaurants $10/meal, meaning the volume of meals today equates to nearly $1.5 million in revenue for hard-hit local restaurants — a much-needed form of stimulus in these challenging times. Ten local restaurants have prepared meals for UVEE since the program began; current participating restaurants and food businesses include Global Village Foods (Quechee), The Little Grille (Bradford), Maple Street Catering (White River Junction), Tacocat (Randolph), and the Windsor Diner (Windsor).
Everyone Eats was inspired by grassroots initiatives from communities across Vermont. Originally designed as a five month program, VEE has been extended multiple times to mitigate high levels of food insecurity and economic instability exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis. In July 2020, Vermont lawmakers allocated funds from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to launch Vermont Everyone Eats and the program was subsequently extended with FEMA funding. Vermont Everyone Eats is operated through a network of community hubs located throughout the state. Since the start of Vermont Everyone Eats, 14 community hubs have worked with 260 restaurants sourcing ingredients from over 300 farmers to distribute over 1.9 million meals to Vermonters all over the state.
For more information about Vermont Everyone Eats, visit vteveryoneeats.org.