SEVCA announces Regional Hubs in the Vermont Everyone Eats Program!
“Vermont Everyone Eats”, the program designed to provide nutritious meals to Vermonters impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, is going statewide. Already underway in various forms in pockets around the state – from Brattleboro to Burlington, from Hardwick down to Chester, and communities in between – the program will soon be brought to scale and made available in a dozen or more regional “Hubs” thanks to a $5 million Coronavirus Relief Fund allocation through the Agency of Commerce & Community Development (ACCD) to Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA), the statewide administrator and fiscal agent for this unique and innovative program.
Vermont Everyone Eats (VEE) has been made possible by a Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) grant to Vermont from the federal CARES Act passed by Congress and signed into law on March 27th. The stated purpose of the grant for VEE, approved in July as part of the bill H.966 and called “Restaurants and Farmers Feeding the Hungry,” is “to provide assistance to Vermonters who are food insecure due to the COVID-19 public health emergency by engaging Vermont restaurants that have suffered economic harm due to [that] emergency to prepare meals using foodstuffs purchased from Vermont farms and food producers.” It was one of many initiatives supported by that funding, and state agencies and non-profit organizations throughout Vermont have been busy ramping up a wide range of programs and services to provide relief to thousands of residents whose lives were upended by the pandemic and to help them recover from its impact.
After collaborating with ACCD and a statewide Task Force to work out the countless details involved in its implementation, SEVCA announces the official rollout across Vermont of this first-of-its-kind effort in the country, with the first Hubs being awarded funding from the grant. To start with, ten organizations around the state serving their designated regions will receive grants from SEVCA to support their participating restaurants to prepare the meals and the farmers and food producers to supply the ingredients, and to operate and manage the programs in their areas through mid-December, 2020. This will be accomplished by providing relief to restaurants struggling to stay in business and keeping their workers employed, who will apply their skills and expertise to produce high quality, healthy meals for food-insecure Vermonters. In partnership with local food shelves, shelters, other service providers, businesses, community coalitions, and private citizens, they’re already producing and distributing 11,000 meals per week, and by its peak following the statewide rollout, that number is projected to rise to over 20,000 meals per week, significantly more that required by the grant.
On the average, at least 10% of the ingredients used by the participating restaurants to prepare the meals will be locally-sourced, coming from farms and other food producers located in Vermont. At present, more than 90 local VT restaurants and over 60 VT-based farms have signed on to the program, with more being added weekly, and the organizations already signed up or applying to serve as Hubs and receive a VEE grant include: Bar Antidote/Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes (Vergennes - northern Addison County), Center for an Agricultural Economy (Hardwick - Caledonia County, western NEK), Downtown Brattleboro Alliance (southern Windham County), Green Mountain Farm to School (Newport, Orleans County, northern NEK), Localvore (statewide online platform), ShiftMeals/Capstone (Washington, Lamoille , and Orange Counties), Springfield Family Center/Chester Helping Hands (northern Windham County, southern Windsor County), Vermont Farmers Food Center (Rutland County), Vital Communities/Upper Valley Haven (northern Windsor County, southern Orange County), Wilmington Works (western Windham County/Deerfield Valley), and ShiftMeals (Chittenden County).
8/1/2020 Proposals Requested for Everyone Eats Program
$5 million available for community projects that engage restaurants in emergency feeding.
In response to COVID-19, restaurants, farmers, and community organizations across Vermont have stepped forward to help feed neighbors experiencing food insecurity. These programs have helped stabilize communities by nourishing Vermonters, alleviating the surging demand on food shelves, and providing economic support to restaurants. The State of Vermont has allocated $5M from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to a new program called Everyone Eats, which supports restaurants feeding Vermonters who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
Southeastern Vermont Community Action Agency (SEVCA), the fiscal agent for the program, is requesting proposals from the community organizations around the state. Proposals should feature collaborative partnerships that address the three goals of providing nutritious meals to Vermonters in need of meal assistance, providing a revenue source for restaurants that have been economically impacted by COVID-19, and providing Vermont farms and food producers with an opportunity to increase sales.
Participating restaurants will be paid $10/meal and at least 10% of the ingredients for each meal must be sourced from local farms and value-added food producers. Projects will be awarded on a rolling basis starting the first week of August until the funds have been allocated. Program funds need to be expended by December 18, 2020.
The Request for Proposal is available for download here.
An information session will be hosted to provide an overview of the program and application process on Aug 3, 2020, at 04:30 PM EST. Prospective applicants can register to attend that webinar via the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZApc-Chpz4iGdMRdkAVKeTTGZt921aNCTtx.
Everyone Eats is being developed by a Statewide Task Force with representatives from organizations with expertise in hunger relief, the restaurant industry, local food and agriculture systems, and key project partners like the VT Agency of Commerce & Community Development (ACCD) and Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA).
Are you an restaurant interested in participating?
Please read more about the program HERE.
Interested in participating? Let us know and we will forward your info to the appropriate Hub. Fill out our form HERE.
CHECK OUT the press on this new program!