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Everyone Eats to End on March 31st

Pandemic Recovery Food Assistance Program to Wind Down-3.5 million meals strong, the Vermont Everyone Eats program will end March 31

The hands of multiple chefs preparing meals together for the Everyone Eats programThe Vermont Everyone Eats (VEE) program is a federally funded, short-term pandemic recovery initiative created to help restaurants, farmers, and eaters through the acute economic challenges of the COVID pandemic. The program, which began on August 1, 2020, will end on March 31, 2023. VEE Hubs have distributed approximately 3.5 million meals throughout all 14 counties, generating more than $34M in revenue for participating restaurants.

“This extraordinary program has shown us firsthand how well the multiplier effect can work to stretch federal dollars to benefit many more people when a program spans multiple sectors. Addressing food security, economic development, and agricultural resilience with a single federal dollar is unprecedented. We need to see more programs like this,” said SEVCA Interim Executive Director Kathleen Devlin.

With collaborative support from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Agency of Human Services, Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets, Vermont Emergency Management, and over $42 million in federal FEMA funding supplemented with a $1.3 million allocation from the state legislature, this program has provided free restaurant-prepared meals to Vermonters in need of food assistance across the state while also providing a stabilizing source of income for Vermont restaurants negatively impacted by the pandemic and conveying economic support to Vermont farmers and food producers.

Everyone Eats Logo with yellow background and wheat stalks in white with a red heart in the middleThe program is operated by community hubs throughout the state. The Collaborative, Shires Housing, the Community Food Cupboard, and the Alliance for Community Transformations (ACT) have been partners in the regional hub serving Bennington County. More than 90,000 meals have been distributed to county residents since November 2020, prepared and provided by restaurant partners including: Bringing You Vermont, Cold Cow Creamery, Moonwink, New Morning Natural Foods and Juicery, Sam's Wood Fired Pizza Co., The Avocado Pit, Ramunto’s Pizza, Hilltop Highlands Farm, Trail 87, and The Works Café.

“This emergency program played a key role in providing meals to households while providing stable income for Vermont restaurants, farmers, and food producers during the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Department of Housing and Community Development Commissioner Josh Hanford. “As this federally funded emergency COVID-19 response tool winds down, the hard work of developing sustainable solutions to end food insecurity in Vermont will continue.”

VEE has raised awareness of gaps in the existing systems addressing food insecurity in the state as well as the ongoing business challenges faced by Vermont restaurants and farmers in our seasonally driven state economy. Using this program as a model, partners will continue to work together to identify sustainable long-term solutions to address ongoing food security and economic needs.

"Vermont Everyone Eats did a remarkable job rallying communities of restaurants, eaters, and farmers during the pandemic. It was not designed to end hunger in the state of Vermont,” said Vermont Foodbank CEO and VEE Statewide Task Force member John Sayles. “Hunger, a solvable problem, still exists. While VEE is coming to a close, collaborative action will continue across Vermont to ensure the dignity of enough nourishing food for all."

An average of 35% of meal ingredients, far exceeding the program’s 10% local ingredient minimum, have been purchased from Vermont farmers and food producers, providing over $3.5 million in revenue. This program has benefited over 700 restaurants, farms, food producers, hubs, and distribution partners throughout the state’s fourteen counties since its inception and will continue to distribute an average of 25,000 meals per week to food insecure individuals across Vermont until the program ends on March 31, 2023.

For more information on Everyone Eats - The Shires or how to receive a meal in Bennington County, visit or our Everyone Eats page.

Lauren Ingersoll, Ludlow Project Assistant

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