The Vermont Food Bank is buying more food to meet the expected need among shut-in seniors and at-home school children, and is changing how that food is distributed.
“In addition to maintaining our usual food distribution across the state, we are purchasing the equivalent of an extra two to three months’ worth of nutrient-dense, pantry staples for the 12,000 people we serve monthly at schools, hospitals and low-income senior housing. We are looking in to doubling up on our distribution of free, nutritious foods to 2,200 low-income older adults through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program. We are hoping to provide both the April and May food boxes in April. This will ensure that if services are disrupted due to the virus, people don’t miss out on food.
Systems are shifting. People usually choose food as though “shopping” at their local food shelf, but now many of our partners will transition to offering prefilled bags and boxes that can be distributed with a lower risk of virus transmission. The Foodbank is already ordering additional food, boxes, bags, and to-go containers to support these efforts. Organizations that provide community meals are shifting to models that allow them to share food with neighbors in need without people congregating. Many senior centers and meal programs will make prepared food available to-go, so that it can be picked up or delivered and eaten at home. Schools are working hard to prepare to distribute school meals to students while the schools are closed, and we are working closely with these partners to ensure that our services that operate in partnership with the schools are still able to meet the needs of our community members in these changing times."
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