Vermont Everyone Eats (VEE), the innovative Covid-19 response program that provides meal assistance to Vermonters in need while supporting local restaurants, farmers and food producers, has received an extension to continue programming. Program managers had previously anticipated that the program would end on June 30, but the state has extended the program contract recognizing that many Vermonters continue to face exacerbated food insecurity due to the Covid-19 economic crisis.
The program is now expected to continue through September, contingent on the need and available funding.
Even as Vermont celebrates its high vaccination rate and the lifting of state pandemic restrictions, residents and local businesses continue to face pandemic-related crises. Many Vermonters are navigating the confusing maze of shifting conditions and resources like the ending of the eviction moratorium, changing housing assistance, reduced unemployment benefits, SNAP eligibility, and school meals programs. To help families, restaurants, and farmers continue to cope with the lingering impacts of Covid-19, Everyone Eats has been extended.
Steve Geller, executive director of SEVCA, VEE’s administering agency, spoke for everyone who made the program possible, when he said, “SEVCA, the VEE staff, the statewide Task Force, and the regional ‘community hubs’ that have delivered the meals, are all relieved and delighted that we now have three more months to provide this incredible benefit to so many Vermonters. Despite the positive news about the reduced Covid risk and our growing economy, the negative effects of this crisis are still impacting many individuals and businesses in our state, and this will give them the additional resources and time they need to recover.”
The program is anticipated to ramp down, with the volume of meals decreasing over the next few months as, hopefully, community food security stabilizes. Meals are still available in all 14 Vermont counties through a variety of distribution channels. For more information about the program or how to receive a meal, please visit vteveryoneeats.org.