VeggieVanGo Brings Fresh Fruits, Veggies, and Smiles to Thousands Each Month

With many people out of work and struggling with the economic impacts of COVID-19, food distributions around Vermont are still serving visitors at record levels. Because of you, free, fresh food is available for neighbors who need it, all year long.

“I had been at a food shelf but it’s such a small scale there, and you’re really getting to know each person and family on an individual level, whereas the VeggieVanGos (VVG) are just incredible, the number of families that show up and are receiving food.”

Jenevra is a program coordinator at the Foodbank. On any given day she can be found directing traffic, handling logistics, and greeting visitors at the VVG fresh food distributions that occur from the Upper Valley to the Northeast Kingdom. Because of the pandemic, these open-air, walk-through distributions have shifted to a drive-through model where visitors can pick up a variety of fresh produce, dairy, and meat. The stories she hears and the people she meets, Jenevra says, make the job both difficult and deeply gratifying.

“At [one] VVG we have a woman who comes and picks up every single time. She usually gets for six or seven families. She just does it for those families, it’s not even for her,” Jenevra says. “People want to help, it’s amazing. I’ve been very inspired …”

The flip-side to that, she says, is hearing the stories of people who are out of work, or older Vermonters unable to leave their homes. And then there are the sheer numbers.

“[Another VVG] gets 500-600 families, regularly,” Jenevra says, of the distribution that takes place in a small Central Vermont town. “And if you conceptualize, or think of what that looks like in a community, that’s an incredible number of people.”

Thanks to your help, thousands of neighbors facing hunger during the pandemic are able to have fresh, nourishing food in their pantries and refrigerators. And as Jenevra sees it, your help also brings out smiles in these difficult times.

“At [a recent] distribution we had milk, and I told a family… a couple, what we had that day and I said, ‘We have milk,’ and they said, ‘Oh you have milk!’ And then we both started jumping up and down and getting really excited,” shares Jenevra. “People are so thankful, and so happy, they say, ‘Thank you for being out here, thank you for being here.’”

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Read More Stories

  • Matthew works at Foodworks food shelf, one of the 353 community organizations that partners with Vermont Foodbank working towards a food-secure vermont.

  • Elysia lives in St. Johnsbury and is a community consultant for Vermont Foodbank. She brings her expertise to help improve services and increase access to food for folks in her community.

  • This month, we're celebrating you and those who've offered the Gift of Support and in so doing have joined us on the journey of creating a food-secure Vermont by sharing part of a recent interview with friend and neighbor Sara.