Burlington, VT — A local business has been on the front lines of hunger relief and connecting local restaurants to people experiencing food insecurities. Originally founded as a small Daily Deal website in 2012 by Dan White and Michael Nedell, Localvore is now the technology partner for Vermont Everyone Eats and manages their digital voucher program through an app.
VEE’s statewide coordinator Jean Hamilton commented, “We chose to partner with Localvore to create the VEE Digital Vouchers because they expressed interest through our RFP process and presented a compelling presentation on how their platform could effectively offer a statewide program that would allow individuals and restaurants to participate.”
Funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, VEE provides meals to Vermonters in need of food assistance who can use the Localvore app to request meals from local restaurants across the state. Individuals have to fill out a form to confirm eligibility for the Everyone Eats Voucher program.
Once confirmed, the form will let them create an account to use on the Localvore Passport App, which allows individuals to get takeout meals directly from participating restaurants at no cost.
When an Everyone Eats meal is redeemed, the restaurant will get a $10 reimbursement from Localvore. Co-founder Dan White said, “We manage a meal budget of $100,000 per week, which translates to 10,000 meals. 80 percent of the Everyone Eats program is distribution hubs and non-profits and we collaborate with them to make the meals even more accessible. Localvore have fulfilled over 500,000 meals to date and the Everyone Eats program is coming up on their 2 millionth meal.”
White also emphasized that they want to get nutritional meals to people accessing the program. “We really try to have a great meal variety and certain nutritional requirements. Participating restaurants need to use at least 10 percent of local ingredients for their meals.”
“The digital vouchers provide one of many diverse channels through which people participate in VT Everyone Eats, said Hamilton. “We have been pleased with how this option leverages technology to provide meal recipients choice and flexibility of accessing meals when and where works best for them.”
Local residents chimed in on how Localvore has positively impacted them and people they know.
“A lot of people in my life have had a lot of crises since the beginning of COVID and Michael Nedell from Localvore has gotten them signed up to receive meals from Everyone Eats within an hour,” said Hinesburg resident Sarah Toscano. “He created and ran a beautiful safety net and was very compassionate at every turn. If there were awards for this type of thing- serious humanitarianism, he should receive one.”
Jean-Christian Adrien who lives in Colchester shared, “Localvore is one of the best tools that the state of Vermont has provided to us especially to me. It is a huge blessing, it makes me save money, I don’t cook so it comes in handy and it also helps us discover new restaurants. It is a life savior, please keep it, just as the positive impact that the food shelfs are having in our society.”
Vermont Everyone Eats has been extended to April 1.