How a nonprofit that helps Vermont seniors is now helping the Earth, too

Published: Dec. 23, 2021 at 4:45 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 23, 2021 at 7:17 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - An organization that helps deliver meals to seniors is getting some help of its own.

Montpelier’s FEAST program is busy this time of the year, with 350 meals on wheels delivered to the community weekly.

They recently stopped paying for a catering service and reopened their old kitchen. At its heart-- an old propane stove.

Recently they were looking into replacing it with something newer and eclectic. But last week, the old oven kicked the bucket.

Scrambling to meet the need, the FEAST program had to improvise, and a local church pitched in kitchen space.

That was a short-term fix. But through Green Mountain Power’s free business innovation service, a crew assessed how much energy Meals on Wheels would save with a new oven by cutting carbon emissions.

“What we can do is quantify how much carbon they’re saving and offer that as a way to switch to this cleaner, greener and better for the environment,” said Kristin Carlson of GMP.

Through a rebate funded by Vermont’s clean energy standard, Meals on Wheels saved $3,000 on a new oven.

“It’s just going to make our whole kitchen setup more efficient for us,” said Kim Myers, the program manager for FEAST Senior Meals.

The way electric power is regulated in Vermont, every gradual strategic switch to electrification reduces the cost of electricity for all customers.

GMP doesn’t profit off people ditching fossil fuels.

“It’s great to be able to help Meals on Wheels because they’re so busy helping other people, they don’t have time to be energy experts. We have a team of folks who help and make it simple for them,” Carlson said.

Electrification projects like these are a big component of the Global Warming Solutions Act and the state’s quest to reduce emissions 26% below 2005 levels by 2025.

The old oven was using about 995 gallons of butane annually. Switching over to renewable electricity will off serve 12,673 pounds of carbon annually.

“Having a new piece of equipment is going to cut the cost for us which is really going to be helpful,” Myers said.

Green Mountain Restaurant Equipment out of Milton helped Meals on Wheels track down the new oven. It’s slated to be delivered next week.

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