The Hannaford Charitable Foundation today announced a $75,000 donation to the Vermont Foodbank that will help the agency distribute fresh produce to nearly 15,000 individuals and families in need throughout Rutland County.

The $75,000 donation supports the purchase of equipment to efficiently and effectively acquire and distribute more fresh and perishable product at the Vermont Foodbank’s new Rutland Distribution Center. Prior to the hannafordcontribution from Hannaford, donations processed through the 24,000 square-foot facility were limited to non-perishable goods and shelf-stable produce.

Representatives from Hannaford Supermarkets today joined officials from the Vermont Foodbank at the Rutland Distribution Center to present the donation and tour the facility, including the new custom produce cooler in the donated product processing area, which will be named in recognition of the Hannaford Charitable Foundation.

“Hannaford is thrilled to make this donation to the Vermont Foodbank, a valued community partner whose dedication to providing fresh, healthy and nutritious product to the communities it serves is just as ardent as our own,” said Hannaford Community Relations Specialist Brian Fabre. “The new produce cooler at the Rutland Distribution Center is key to increasing the Vermont Foodbank’s efficiency as they seek to provide fresh food at a greater level than ever before in Rutland County.”

“The Vermont Foodbank is beyond grateful for the long-term support and partnership of Hannaford Supermarkets in the fight against hunger,” said John Sayles, Vermont Foodbank CEO. “Hannaford’s leadership as a food and fund donor allows the Foodbank to ensure that our neighbors have the food they need to lead healthier lives, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

The Rutland Distribution Center will aid the Vermont Foodbank in its goal of distributing 11 million pounds of food, including two million pounds of fresh produce, to Vermont residents in 2016. The facility will service 17 area food pantries and meal sites in an effort to ensure the 24 percent of Rutland residents who visit a food shelf or meal site each year will have access to healthy food options.

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Vermont Foodbank is the state’s largest hunger-relief organization, providing nutritious food through a network of more than 300 community partners – food shelves, meal sites, schools, hospitals, and housing sites. Food insecurity has increased dramatically as a result of the pandemic, economic disruptions, and recent flooding. The Vermont Foodbank and its network have been on the front lines, working to ensure that everyone has the food they need to maintain their health. Last year, the Vermont Foodbank provided over 12 million pounds of food to people throughout Vermont. The Vermont Foodbank, a member of Feeding America, is nationally recognized as one of the most effective and efficient nonprofits and food banks in the nation.