Downtown Winooski: Summer Meals Program
Anastasia is a senior at UVM and had this to say about the program:
As the POP Club Coordinator of the Winooski Farmers Market, I saw firsthand the impact of engaging children with their local food system and connecting them to healthy, nutritious meals. Because I study food systems and nutrition at the University of Vermont, I understand the importance of federal nutrition assistance programs on the livelihoods of families and the health of developing children. However, being in person and offering children lunch and a place to learn and ask questions about their food is the best way to truly be engaged in the community and understand the impact of the Summer Meals program. I had many children who came on a weekly basis to come pick up a meal. Mothers would often come by and tell me they had heard of our program, and thank me for being there to offer their children a bite to eat. Oftentimes, parents would be hesitant to give the child their meal expecting to pay a fee, and became quickly elated when I let them know there was no cost. This program is especially crucial because in the summer children are not going to school where they might get a free or reduced lunch. Skipping meals can stunt brain development and growth and create long term negative health impacts for children. I have seen the impact of this program and have felt the gratitude from Vermont families for keeping their children fed.
City Market did not stop there-- our Farmers Market runs on volunteer power. Our Market Manager is eternally grateful for the regular City Market volunteers.