SWANTON, Vt. (WCAX0 The Vermont National Guard and Vermont Foodbank handed out thousands of free Meals, Ready-to-Eat, or MREs, in Swanton Wednesday. It's part of an ongoing effort to get food to those who need it across the state.
The Guard set up shop at the Franklin County Airport at 9 a.m. and nearly 1,600 boxes of MREs, disappeared in under three hours.
"Just so that they can stay safe and stay home like they're supposed to be. I mean, we don't want them going out to the stores and stuff like that so that's what we're here for to help," said Vt. National Guard Staff Sgt Emil Lemay.
After supplies ran short around noon, meals from future distribution events were pulled and brought to the airport to continue the effort.
Vermont Foodbank CEO John Sayles say the high need for food is something that they're seeing a lot of nowadays. "We've seen between a 30 to 100 percent increase in the number of people showing up at food distributions," he said.
He says with that increase in the number of food-insecure people because of COVID-19, coinciding with a drop in donations, they are working to keep up with increased demand. "I think what we're seeing in Swanton -- not unexpected -- is that there's a lot of untapped need out there," Sayles said.
He says for the time being their supplies are adequate and more food on the way, allowing them to continue holding these extra distribution events for as long as necessary. "It's so important that people come out and get food assistance if they need it. We don't want people waiting until they've spent all of their resources down," Sayles said.