Home News and Features Sponsored Content Medical Center Partners with Youth Organization to Connect Families with Healthy Food

Medical Center Partners with Youth Organization to Connect Families with Healthy Food

Vermont Youth Conservation Corps member delivers fresh vegetables to the Central Vermont Medical Center drop-off site. Courtesy Photo
New Precautions Implemented to Help Prevent Spread of COVID-19

BERLIN – Central Vermont Medical Center is working with the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps 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 experience 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 the medical center’s 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, the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps’s Health Care Share began at Central Vermont Medical Center in 2012. The program has since expanded to four hospital networks across five counties, serving more than 400 families statewide. With 150 participants, the medical center is the largest Health Care Share distribution partner in the state.

This year, the Farm at Vermont Youth Conservation Corps has implemented several strategies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. “We’ve established dozens of extra food safety precautions throughout our operation,” said Food and Farm Director Susie Walsh Daloz. “The new procedures stipulate detailed protocols for handwashing, sanitizing, and social distancing, as well as the extensive use of masks and gloves throughout our harvesting, packing, and delivery process.”

The Vermont Youth Conservation Corps employs youths 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 crew is hoping to grow 53,000 pounds of food this year to support the Health Care Share.

To enroll participants, health care providers work with the 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 medical center 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, Central Vermont Medical Center has expanded distribution to two Support and Services at Home locations in Barre to help reduce transportation challenges for participants at those sites. 

A volunteer delivers food. Courtesy photo.

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.orgThis message and any attachments may contain information that is confidential, privileged and/or protected from disclosure under state and federal laws. If you received this message in error or through inappropriate means, please reply to this message to notify the Sender that the message was received by you in error, and then permanently delete this message from all storage media, without forwarding or retaining a copy.