Courtesy of Vermont Foodbank
Andrea Solazzo, Vermont Foodbank agriculture and community outreach manager, packs produce for food shelf delivery
The Vermont Foodbank
is the recipient of a $500,000 federal grant to “upgrade its Barre, Vt., facility with new equipment and infrastructure,” according to a press release from the United States Department of Agriculture, the agency that awarded the money.
The funds will be used for a variety of improvements, including “increased broadband capacity” and the purchase of a pickup truck, a forklift, storage, telecommunications equipment and other gear, the release said.
Awarded through USDA Rural Development's Community Facilities Disaster Relief program, the grant will allow the Barre-based nonprofit to better communicate and collaborate with partner organizations around the state, according to the press release. The Vermont Foodbank works with more than 200 local food shelves and other community sites to distribute food to Vermonters in need.
Between the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March and the end of July, the food bank has distributed about 10 million pounds of food, according to the organization. It typically distributes 11 to 12 million pounds in a year.
FEMA estimates that roughly one in three Vermonters will require food assistance due to the pandemic, according to the Vermont Foodbank.