Vermont Business Magazine In 2016, what might appear to be a small food shelf in the northwest corner of Vermont served 5,715 people, during 8,844 visits. This includes single mothers, elderly, veterans, underemployed and unemployed, disabled, refugees and Native Americans. Food shelf staff and volunteers distributed 308,806 pounds of food, not only at its location in St. Albans, but delivering food to those homebound at elder care facilities, and satellite sites throughout the two counties. Most of this food is donated by community members, but in addition the food shelf purchased $14,476 worth of food from the Vermont Food Bank.
Support from the Amy E Tarrant Foundation comes at a crucial juncture for NorthWest Family Foods, a program of the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity. The food shelf has seen a 25% increase in the number of visits a household makes to it each year in the last three years. And second, under Act 148, Vermont’s Universal Recycling and Composting law, businesses that generate over 52 tons of food scraps per year are now required to send those scraps to a donation program such as NorthWest Family Foods. By 2020, food scraps from all businesses and residents will be banned from the landfill. This has resulted in a significant increase in food donations from local businesses, and the food shelf has been hard put to handle this with the needed refrigeration, staffing, and other expense associated with storage and distribution.
Robert Ostermeyer, Director of Franklin and Grand Isle Community Action says, “Funding support from Amy E. Tarrant Foundation means we can purchase a new freezer, pallet jack and platform scale for NorthWest Family Foods. This makes food storage more efficient and upgrades our ability to track how much food travels through us to our neighbors in need. We are deeply grateful.”
About Amy E. Tarrant Foundation
The Amy E. Tarrant Foundation is committed to bettering the lives of Vermonters through grants to support human services, the arts, education, health and those most in need.
About Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity
The Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO) was incorporated in May 1965 as part of a national network of Community Action Agencies created by President Lyndon Johnson under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. Our mission is to address fundamental issues of economic, social, and racial justice and to work with people to achieve economic independence. Our program staff serves approximately 25,000 individuals annually. Key services include basic needs (food shelves, fuel and utilities assistance and housing), Head Start, domestic violence intervention, financial literacy and asset building, and weatherization. We serve low to moderate income households in the four Vermont counties of Addison, Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle.