Everyone Eats relaunches through continued partnerships

WESTMINSTER, Vt. – In the dwindling days of 2020 with CARES Act funding coming to an end, scores of inquiries were placed to community organizers: Is Everyone Eats ending? When will it come back online? The partners of Vermont Everyone Eats are thrilled to announce that this valuable program resumed as of Monday, Jan. 18 thanks to recent fundraising.

This week, Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development allocated $1.6 million to Southeastern Vermont Community Action, the Everyone Eats Program administrator, to relaunch programming. Though this allocation only funds three weeks of programming, partners across the state including the Scott administration and Legislature are working together to identify additional funding opportunities. Partners agree on the goal of funding the program through the state of emergency.

Additional support has come from the Vermont Community Foundation from its Covid-19 Response Fund and independent donors have contributed nearly $20,000.

Everyone Eats purchases to-go meals from local restaurants to feed Vermont communities. Vermonters across the state have celebrated how the program creatively provides economic support to restaurants and their employees, new revenue opportunities for Vermont farmers and food producers, and nourishing meals served with dignity and care to those seeking assistance. In 2020, Everyone Eats funded over 530,000 meals, injecting $5.3 million into local restaurants and nearly $500,000 to Vermont farms and food producers.

According to Ted Brady, Deputy Secretary of ACCD, “Everyone Eats is a perfect example of what makes Vermont special. This creative public-private partnership has allowed communities all around the state to rise up and support their local economies while caring for neighbors in need of help. Volunteers, restaurant workers, farmers, organizers, and lawmakers can be proud of how we have all united to help one another. And we’re going to keep at it.”

Food insecurity has skyrocketed during the Covid-19 crisis with 1 in 3 Vermonters now reporting they have trouble getting enough nourishing food. While Everyone Eats does not solve food insecurity, it has become an important part of the relief offered. VEE statewide coordinator Jean Hamilton observes, “This program has provided clear evidence of the power of strong communities. No one can do it alone; together we are more resilient. I hope participation in this program makes it easier for folks to seek help from other important resources like 3SquaresVT and School Meals. All of these programs can help you get through a tough time and support the local economy.”

Everyone Eats is operated in all 14 counties by local community organizations. Program relaunch plans vary. For more information about Vermont Everyone Eats, visit www.vteveryoneeats.org.

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