BRATTLEBORO — Our community will be eating 2,400 restaurant meals each week in August, for free. Everyone Eats! is a new program using federal funds to purchase meals from independently-owned restaurants in Brattleboro, all of which are struggling because of the coronavirus physical distancing rules. The restaurants, who are experts in the field of feeding people, will be assured revenue and a role in our community. All people who need to eat will be fed.
Joining other efforts taking place throughout the state, Everyone Eats! will help bolster a growing movement focused on saving the nation's restaurants and giving direct support to families. Building on the success of the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance's Nourishing Artists program and Skinny Pancake's ShiftMeals, the program will leverage federal CARES Act funds and contract local restaurants to make to-go meals for anyone whose food security has been challenged by the COVID-19 crisis due to unemployment, underemployment, homelessness, and other financial challenges.
By utilizing available restaurant capacity, 600 meals will be distributed through local organizations and to individuals daily at two locations — MamaSezz in West Brattleboro and the Church Building Parking Lot on Flat Street in downtown Brattleboro — as well as directly to those currently living in hotels. Everyone Eats! high-quality meals are for anyone impacted by the pandemic — whether you have recently become unemployed, are food-insecure, are a parent without summer childcare or simply need a break once in a while — while also energizing our local economy. Distribution will take place Monday through Thursday, with 150 meals per day provided by four restaurants each day. Sixteen restaurants in total will participate in the pilot program.
"The health of our community can be measured by many data points, but the one that makes my heart sing is how much support we offer by standing together," said Stephanie Bonin, executive director of the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance. "Our path during this pandemic will shine light on our collective values and skills at the systems level. Sometimes doing things just a little bit differently gets you a much different outcome."
Any household or individual can pick up meals at either location Monday to Thursday, 4 to 6 p.m. See brattleboro.com/EveryoneEats for more information on food choices.
Restaurants involved are Dosa Kitchen, Yalla, duo Restaurant, A Vermont Table, The Porch, Masala House, Hazel and The Works.
Downtown Brattleboro Alliance is a non-profit whose mission is to promote the vitality of downtown, the primary center of commerce, culture and community life for Brattleboro and the surrounding area. DBA is the official non-profit Designated Downtown Organization for the Town of Brattleboro, providing access to grants, technical assistance, and networking opportunities.
Food Connects is an entrepreneurial non-profit that delivers locally produced food as well as educational and consulting services aimed at transforming local food systems.
Vermont Foodbank is the state's largest hunger-relief organization, providing nutritious food through a network of more than 300 community partners. The mission of the Vermont Foodbank is to gather and share quality food and nurture partnerships so that no one in Vermont will go hungry.