Vt. restaurant shifts focus to providing community meals

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) The Skinny Pancake in Burlington has made changes to its business operations in an effort to get food out to those who are struggling during the pandemic. The restaurant launched "ShiftMeals," donating pre-made meals to food shelves and the community.

"For two weeks it was kind of a jumble of how to respond to this new normal we're living in and so we looked at our resources and said, how can we put this to best use," said the restaurant's Michael Cyr. "The idea of feeding people came to mind, and we'll be able to serve industry workers, musicians, gate workers, anyone who just needs a meal right now."

Like many people in our region, Noah Scheibman had his hours cut at his job and found out about the meal service through his co-workers who are in a similar situation.

"All of my co-workers and I have a big group chat," he said. "They just sent the Google Docs for it in the group chat and I clicked it and I was like, oh this is amazing."

On Sunday, employees from the Skinny Pancake dropped meals off at Radio Bean and Zero Gravity in Burlington, all while keeping CDC guidelines in mind.

"We'll be setting up just a table for contactless pickup," Cyr said. "The meals will be there that we set aside, they'll grab them and be on their way."

Radio Bean owner Lee Anderson says it's been hard not seeing his usual crowd of customers, but he's happy that the new program is bringing a lot of them back around.

"We have a lot of artists and a lot of industry professionals who used to come here and eat and play who could really use a meal right now," he said. "It's good to have them come back around and pick one up here."

Scheibman says he's grateful to the Skinny Pancake.

"It's really great to see like businesses in the community like coming forward to actually legitimately help each other and it's great to see Skinny Pancake doing that," he said.

The next "Shiftmeals" event is planned for Thursday, April 2.