Thanks to $25,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation, the Vermont Foodbank is helping provide more fresh food to Vermonters struggling with hunger. The grant supports investment in refrigeration, freezers, shelving and other materials that make rescuing and handling fresh and perishable foods easier and safer.
This year, the Vermont Foodbank has seen a 40 percent increase in donated food from grocery stores and food producers, in part because of the passage of Vermont’s universal recycling law (Act 148) which prioritizes keeping food out of the waste stream while getting edible food to people who need it safely and efficiently. “The Foodbank is seeing more food available from more groceries stores this year,” said John Sayles, Vermont Foodbank CEO. “To address this, we’ve activated our statewide network of agencies, connecting partner food shelves and meal sites directly with area groceries stores to rescue more perishable food, in a timely manner.”
The $25,000 from the Walmart Foundation was provided in the form of mini grants by the Vermont Foodbank to Meals on Wheels of Bennington County, Hardwick Area Food Pantry, BROC Community Action in Southwest Vermont, Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, and Northeast Kingdom Community Action.
“Working with these partners, we’ve identified tools and materials needed to capture more fresh food, store it safely, and make it available to folks who need it most,” said Chris Meehan, Chief Impact Officer. “Local food shelves and meal sites are picking up food, in some cases, 4 times a week from their local grocery store, which is only possible with their partnership. The Foodbank can’t do this work alone.”
Grant recipient, Marianne Buswell, food shelf manager for BROC-Community Action in Southwestern Vermont said, “The new large capacity commercial refrigerator, freezer and commercial shelving are amazing additions to our busy food shelf. This investment allows us to efficiently store much more food, resulting in many more people in need being served.”