Barre, VT (June 7th, 2017) – The Vermont Foodbank today announced a $25,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to fund the infrastructure that will ultimately help the Foodbank’s partner agencies secure and distribute more nutritious food to families in need. The grant will support investments in the equipment necessary to handle perishable products, such as refrigerated vehicles; coolers and freezers for transporting, storing and distributing food; thermometers and temperature calibration devices; among other items.
“One in 4 people struggle with hunger in Vermont, including 34,000 children,” said Vermont Foodbank CEO, John Sayles. “We are thankful to the Walmart Foundation for helping to ensure that people who struggle with hunger have access to nutrient-rich food. This grant will go a long way in helping the Vermont Foodbank and our partner agencies serve our state.”
The Vermont Foodbank secures fresh, perishable food from retailers across the state. Through their Retail Partner Agency Program, the Foodbank facilitates the direct rescue of these foods by training food shelf personnel in safe food-handling procedures and connecting them with nearby retailers to receive or pick up the food themselves. Through this grant opportunity from Walmart, three Foodbank network partners were chosen to receive funds to increase the number of produce pounds rescued from their retail partners. Loaves and Fishes and Groundworks in Brattleboro, and Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects (HOPE) in Middlebury will be purchasing new commercial refrigerators, freezers, and shelving to support their efforts to bring more fresh food to their clients.
The Walmart Foundation has been instrumental in helping food banks rescue and distribute more perishable food from retailers across the United States in a sustainable, cost-effective way. This grant is a part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s ongoing commitment to helping families who struggle with hunger by providing four billion meals to people in need in the U.S. by 2020.
Since 2009, the Walmart Foundation has been a leading supporter of infrastructure grants to Feeding America food banks and their member agencies. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation provide donations of both food and funds to the Feeding America nationwide network of 200 food banks. Locally, the Vermont Foodbank picks up donated food weekly from the local Walmart stores; has received funding through the company’s Fight Hunger, Spark Change campaign; and has received grants to support their Retail Partner Agency Program, 3Squares VT (SNAP) Outreach, the BackPack Program, and VT Fresh programs.
With food insecurity remaining high throughout the country, the ability to distribute more food is critical for food banks. According to the USDA, more than 42 million people nationwide are food insecure, which means that they may not know where they will find their next meal. In Vermont, 74,600 residents are food insecure. To learn more about what the Vermont Foodbank is doing to fight hunger, visit www.vtfoodbank.org.