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Feeding Chittenden launches online platform

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 8:31 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Feeding Chittenden is trying out a new way to help feed families in our community. In a partnership with Champlain Valley Headstart, 30 families have been testing out a food distribution program designed to allow families of students the option to pick food and household products they need from an online list.

“It’s been so crucial and beneficial for our families, especially when our kids are not in school,” said Gertrude Namubiru of Burlington. The box was really so perfect and so inclusive and it was full of things we really needed.”

Families can choose what they want and pick it up pre-packed or have it delivered. An online form has 60 different options ranging from groceries to household goods. “The point of it is to get families’ basic needs met, and food is very important obviously,” said Molly Scaife, a family support specialist with Champlain Valley Headstart.

She has volunteered at the food shelf herself and says there are some foods she knows might not get eaten once they are out the door. She says in Burlington, a city with a range of ethnicities, making sure people have the right food is crucial. “And the food isn’t going to waste, and I think that is really helpful for families,” said Scaife.

The pilot project is serving about 30 families for now, but Feeding Chittenden says they plan to expand. “The goal ultimately is to re-design our food distribution system,” said Feeding Chittenden’s Anna McMahon. “We have such a varying population that they serve. Working families, individuals experiencing homelessness, and again, people that have some strict dietary needs. So, we want to, if we can, offer more choice. I mean we are able to provide people with a little relief that we are going to provide people with food that best fits their needs.”

She says the idea is to have an easy-to-use online form that anyone in need can pick and choose what best fits their dietary needs and preferences. “We are taking kind of a human-centered approach and asking people what do they want and need from us,” said McMahon.

Something that Namubiru says can go a long way. “I am looking forward to having this if it continues, and I pray it does. It is really going to make a difference in my life and in my child’s life,” said Namubiru.

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