Partnership for a Hunger-Free Grand Isle County

A recent community survey revealed an alarmingly high rate of childhood hunger among the Grand Isle County’s families, with strong likelihood that this issue spans the age spectrum of residents. To develop solutions for addressing food insecurity in the region, the Partnership for a Hunger-Free Grand Isle County was formed with support from UVM Medical Center Foundation. With Hunger Free Vermont as the backbone support, partner organizations in Grand Isle are establishing and expanding nutrition programs available to eligible residents through a collective, integrated approach. The group focuses on strategies to overcome the physical and social isolation that pose obstacles to food access, and tackles the perceived stigma associated with benefiting from nutrition programs. 

Project Partners

Champlain Islands Farmers Market, Champlain Islands Health Center, C.I.D.E.R., Congregational Church of South Hero: Food for Thought, Franklin/Grand Isle Community Action, Grand Isle Food Shelf: Methodist Church, Grand Isle Supervisory Union, Hunger Free Vermont, Islands in the Sun Senior Center, Northwest Medical Center: RiseVT & Healthy Roots Collaborative, United Way of Northwest Vermont, Vermont Department of Health

Current Initiatives:

Food Access Community Engagement

This initiatives focuses on gathering input to help the partnership improve food access in our communities. The first step in the project is a community-wide survey for all Grand Isle County residents. The survey will help to understand where Grand Isle residents get the food they need, what make it hard sometimes, and how people prefer to get information about food resources and other things we need. All Grand Isle County residents are invited to share their perspectives through this anonymous survey.

Once the survey is completed, the results will be shared across Grand Isle County and community discussions will be held to discuss what we’re learning and explore solutions together.

Food Resources Guide

The partners will distribute the Food Resources Guide to key service providers and community members, along with additional information and training to help build confidence and enthusiasm in speaking about federal nutrition programs and how to get application assistance.

Food Shelf on Wheels

In addition to food box deliveries to Meals on Wheels clients twice a month, this initiative is expanding the project to provide a more “private” food shelf experience at a “pop up” food distribution at the Congregational Church of South Hero, along with providing application assistance for 3SquaresVT and WIC. Using the Senior Center to provide nutrition and cooking classes, not only for seniors, but also for WIC and 3SquaresVT participants, is another way we hope to expand this project.

Food Security at School & at Home

This initiative coordinates gleaning field trips to reach the families of the students with both food and food resource information about 3SquaresVT, school meals, and WIC. Summer and afterschool programming have dwindled in the county in recent years, greatly reducing access to summer and afterschool meals for children. This initiative will work to reverse this trend.

Farmers Market Access

This initiative extends the the "transportation-plus-incentive project" for the full produce market season, ramping up promotion and outreach efforts to reach many more residents in need of both transportation and information about how 3SquaresVT and WIC intersect with farmers markets.

Community Medical Providers Outreach & Screening

Working to implement the Hunger Vital Sign in the Champlain Islands Health Center, and at all other healthcare providers in the Islands. The Hunger Vital Sign screens patients for food insecurity, prompting healthcare providers to connect patients with nutrition resources as needed.