New Precautions Implemented to Help Prevent Spread of COVID-19
CVMC volunteers delivering fresh vegetables to participants as they drive up in their cars.
Vermont Business Magazine Central Vermont Medical Center (CVMC) is working with Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) to produce and deliver free weekly farm shares to 150 families in Washington County this summer and fall.
Even in normal times, nearly one in 10 Vermont households experiences food insecurity. COVID-19 has exacerbated the challenges faced by those families, and increased the overall number of households in need of food assistance.
“The photo of cars waiting for food distribution at the Knapp Airport in May served as a powerful reminder that COVID-19 has made food insecurity much worse,” said CVMC VP of Human Resources and Clinical Operations Robert Patterson. “Access to good nutrition is one of the social determinants of health. The Health Care Share exemplifies the kind of innovative partnerships we feel are essential to helping CVMC fulfill its mission to care for our community.”
Now in its ninth year, VYCC’s Health Care Share began at CVMC in 2012. The program has since expanded to four hospital networks across five counties, serving more than 400 families statewide. With 150 participants, CVMC is the largest Health Care Share distribution partner in the state.
This year, The Farm at VYCC has implemented several strategies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. “We’ve established dozens of extra food safety precautions throughout our operation,” says VYCC Food and Farm Director Susie Walsh Daloz. “The new procedures stipulate detailed protocols for handwashing, sanitizing, social distancing, as well as the extensive use of masks and gloves throughout our harvesting, packing, and delivery process.”
VYCC employs youth and young adults to grow, wash, pack, and deliver 16 weekly farm shares filled with 12 to 15 pounds of produce, along with pasture-raised chicken twice a season. The VYCC crew is hoping to grow 53,000 lbs. of food this year to support the Health Care Share.
To enroll participants, CVMC health care providers work with the CVMC Community Health Team to identify and refer patient families who may be experiencing food insecurity, diet-related disease, or other distinct health risks.
Participants pick up their free shares at their health care provider’s office or a nearby health center. Each share includes a newsletter with nutritional information, recipes, cooking tips, and facts on featured veggies.
About 40 CVMC staff volunteers help coordinate the logistics of participant pick-ups across seven distribution sites in Barre, Berlin, Montpelier, Northfield, and Waterbury. This year, in collaboration with Support and Services at Home (SASH), CVMC has expanded distribution to two SASH locations in Barre to help reduce transportation challenges for participants at those sites.
VYCC delivering fresh vegetables to the CVMC drop-off site
About Central Vermont Medical Center:
Central Vermont Medical Center is the primary health care provider for 66,000 people who live and work in the 26 communities of central Vermont. We provide 24-hour emergency care, with a full spectrum of inpatient (licensed for 122 beds) and outpatient services. Our professional staff includes over 200 physicians and 70 advanced practice providers representing 25 medical specialties.
Central Vermont Medical Center is a member of The University of Vermont Health Network, an integrated system established to deliver high quality academic medicine to every community we serve.
For more information visit www.UVMHealth.org/CVMC.
About Vermont Youth Conservation Corps:
Vermont Youth Conservation Corps is a 501(c)3 nonprofit youth development organization that puts young adults to work on projects that make a positive impact on our natural and social communities. Founded in 1985, VYCC pays young people, ages 15-26, to work and learn side by side with conservation and farming experts to tackle high-priority conservation projects and food insecurity.
In 2018, VYCC’s primary food security project, the Health Care Share, won a national award from The Corps Network as Project of the Year. In 2019, VYCC earned accreditation by The Corps Network’s Center of Excellence. The Farm at VYCC is located at 2083 East Main Street, Richmond VT. For more information visit www.vycc.org
Source: Berlin, Vt. – Central Vermont Medical Center 7.21.2020