As we celebrate the fall harvest this Thanksgiving week, we at Vital Communities feel grateful for Vermont Everyone Eats (VEE) and all our partners in this endeavor that pays our state’s great chefs to feed those who need it most. Vital Communities coordinates our local VEE “hub,” known as Upper Valley Everyone Eats (UVEE). Over the past 14 months, we’ve worked closely with ten local restaurants, ten volunteers, and over 45 distribution partners to distribute 138,000 nutritious meals to Vermonters experiencing food insecurity here in the Upper Valley.
The effort and commitment put forth by these partners have been truly inspiring to our team, and we’re so grateful to be a part of this community effort. We are currently working with five restaurants to distribute a total of 1,200 meals per week. They are: Global Village Foods (Quechee), Maple Street Catering (White River Junction), the Windsor Diner (Windsor), Tacocat (Randolph), and The Little Grille (Bradford). We hope you’ll join us in thanking them for their commitment to community.
Vermont Everyone Eats is an innovative program that provides nutritious meals to Vermonters in need of food assistance as well as a stabilizing source of income for Vermont restaurants, farmers, and food producers. The program was inspired by grassroots initiatives from communities across Vermont that collaboratively advocated for statewide funding to mitigate the high levels of food insecurity and food industry instability exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. In July 2020, Vermont lawmakers allocated funds to launch the program from the Coronavirus Relief Fund and the program was subsequently extended with funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Vermont Everyone Eats is operated through a network of community hubs located throughout Vermont. Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA) coordinates the program through a contract with the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD).
Says Jean Hamilton, VT Everyone Eats Statewide Coordinator: “Vermont Everyone Eats celebrates all of the farmers, restaurants, diners, and helpers who have collectively built this incredible community program over the last year. Through our innovative COVID-19 response program, our partnerships have generated over $22 million in revenue for Vermont restaurants who in turn have made prepared 1.8 million nourishing meals highlighting ingredients from VT farmers and food producers for neighbors experiencing food insecurity. VEE is only possible because of the countless individuals who have stepped forward to help one another in times of need. But don’t just take my word for it, get involved by contacting you local Everyone Eats hub, and visit #vteveryoneeats to share the love.”