Berlin, Vt. – The Vermont Foodbank’s Veggie VanGo, a mobile food pantry, will deliver its first round of healthy groceries to the University of Vermont Health Network – Central Vermont Medical Center in partnership with Hunger Mountain Coop on Friday, Jan. 27. All families and individuals in need are invited to pick up free, fresh produce and other groceries from 9 to 11 a.m. in Conference Rooms 1 and 2 on the lower level of the hospital in Berlin, Vt.
Veggie VanGo will distribute food at the hospital on six Fridays throughout the winter and spring: January 27, February 24, March 24, April 28, May 26 and June 23. In addition to the Veggie VanGo distribution, Hunger Mountain Coop representatives will be available to provide nutritional information and sign people up for their Coop Cares program, a 10% discount supplemental program for patients receiving 3SquaresVT (formerly Food Stamps) or who participate in WIC. The Vermont Foodbank will also have representatives available to help patients apply for 3SquaresVT.
“We believe that all members of our community should have access to healthy food,” said CVMC Chief Operating Officer Nancy Lothian. “If we collaborate with our local partners to support the nutritional needs of the people in our community, it makes a real difference in their ability to stay healthy.”
The partnership is an extension of the medical center’s Health Care Share (HCS) program, a farm fresh food assistance collaboration with the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) farm, created to bring healthy food and nutrition education to those in need. During the summer, “food shares” are distributed weekly and provide more than ten pounds of freshly harvested vegetables to food insecure families for three months.
The Vermont Foodbank’s Veggie VanGo will allow the HCS program to expand during the non-growing season to fill the gap for families when the VYCC farm is closed. Last year more than 150 families and nearly 600 people were helped by the program.