FEAST News & Updates

New Kitchen Equipment in the FEAST Kitchen, and Energy-Saving Support from Green Mountain Power, as reported by WCAX!

Just before the holidays, this happened in a flash, thanks to collaboration of many people and organizations. We're thrilled with the upgrades AND energy efficiency improvements! 

Volunteers still needed for FEAST!

Volunteers in FEAST Kitchen Nov 2021As we ramp back up in the kitchen and have resumed Mon-Thur hot Meals on Wheels delivery, we need more help again. If you or someone you know is interested in helping, please let us know by calling or emailing us: 802-262-6288, feast@montpelier-vt.org. We are seeking the following:

  •  Kitchen Volunteers 9am-12pm, M-F, for cutting, chopping, prepping, cooking and packing meals for delivery
  • Dishwasher to use our commercial machine
  • Meals on Wheels regular and substitute drivers

Donate to FEAST!

There are dozens of items we need to purchase or  replace to get our kitchen back in smooth running  order. Won’t you consider an end-of-year, tax-deductible gift we can use toward those needs? We have sent an appeal in the mail, but you can also donate online. If you happen to have a whetstone for sharpening knives to donate, please contact Kim.

Learn more about Chef Shalonda James!

As many of you know, we recently hired a new Chef in the FEAST Kitchen, and the feedback we’re hearing about the quality and taste of Chef Shalonda’s meals has been awesome! In between her busy hours in the kitchen and preparing for the holidays, she kindly answered some questions to help the community get to know her better, and we published the Q&A, and other FEAST news, in our January newsletter, p.5. Thanks, Chef!

Just Basics, Inc. and Montpelier Food Pantry News

With funding from National Life Group Foundation, Just Basics, Inc., is launching a major air ventilation improvement project at Trinity Church. Until further notice, however, the Montpelier Food Pantry will continue to serve patrons curbside. The hope is that with a new ventilation system, the Pantry will be able to move operations back indoors at Trinity, and patrons will return to shopping for food themselves, rather than putting in orders and picking up outside. As a reminder, the Pantry is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, from 10am til noon. Patrons can access the online order form and pick up provisions, or request home delivery, which is available Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Questions? Comments? Call Nadya at 1-802-917-8164 or email nadya@justbasicsvt.org
 
Need to print paper forms? http://justbasicsvt.org/home/wp-content/uploads/Blank-order.pdf
Main Just Basics website: https://justbasicsvt.org
Looking for Everyone Eats? https://vteveryoneeats.org
Looking for Meals in Montpelier? https://shiftmeals.org
Looking for Localvore? https://localvorepassport.com

FEAST Gift Delivery Hits Cover of Times Argus!

In case you missed it, some lovely coverage made it onto the cover after our December 23rd meal and gift box delivery. Service can be a multi-generational delight!

To stay abreast of our menu, news & updates

Monthly FEAST Curbside Menu poster image Opens in new windowClick on the image or here for our current monthly Curbside menu. 

If you haven't already, then please visit and LIKE us on our FEAST Facebook page. While you're at it, head on over to LIKE MSAC's Facebook page, too! Finally, subscribe to MSAC's e-letter by clicking here. It comes to your inbox approximately weekly and includes the upcoming FEAST Curbside menu and other FEAST news!

More Good Stuff!

Click here to visit our curated list of wonderful FEAST resources and partners. Click here for MSAC's Classes and Drop-in Group  here to read about the latest Special Events offered by MSAC and the City, and here to read recent Community Announcements, including events offered by our partners like Central VT Council on Aging, Kellogg-Hubbard Library and more!

Older News Items

Westview giftsThank you, Community!

We are so grateful to all community members who donated small gift items, and helped wrap and deliver holiday gifts to FEAST Meals on Wheels recipients. Special thanks to Westview Meadows staff and residents, Splash Naturals, Caledonia Spirits and Hunger Mountain Co-op for going the extra mile to make the packages special! Plus, the SPUDS volunteers from the Unitarian Church came and painted the FEAST office, and we’ve had so many returning and new volunteers in the kitchen and delivering FEAST meals. Thank you!

MSAC's FEAST Senior Meals has joined Meals on Wheels America 

Joining this important national association provides many benefits to MSAC/FEAST, including: member-only funding, federal and grassroots advocacy support, volunteer recruitment support, a member discount program on products and services, national research and branding, professional development, information, and peer-to-peer networking. To learn more about MOWA, click here

MSAC Welcomes new FEAST Kitchen Manager/Chef 

After months of planning and a strong slate of candidates stepped forward, MSAC is thrilled to announce that Ms. Shalonda James will be stepping in to run the FEAST Kitchen as of November 10th. Ms. James comes to us with a rich background in the culinary world, most recently managing the large kitchen at the Woodridge Rehabilitation Center. In her interview, she impressed staff with her excitement to grow the FEAST kitchen, her desire to "elevate the experience" of senior meal recipients by providing them with the nutrition they need and allowing them the opportunity to share their wisdom with the community. Her many experiences as a pastry chef, production manager, sous chef and team leader will be an incredible asset to the FEAST program as it grows. Ms. James will settle in throughout the month of November, but you can come try her delicious meals for Curbside Pickup on Tuesdays and Fridays starting the week of November 15th. In December, she'll be preparing all of the FEAST meals including Meals on Wheels! Please join us in welcoming her to Team MSAC!

3SquaresVT in a SNAP: A simpler way to get food assistance

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 1 in 3 Vermont residents has experienced hardships buying groceries. 3SquaresVT, Vermont’s name for the Federal program SNAP, provides monthly monetary benefits that help Vermont residents stretch their food budgets, ensuring everyone has enough nourishing food to eat. Households in which everyone is either 60 and over or receive disability benefits may be eligible for 3Squares in a SNAP, a simpler application process that can enroll you in both food assistance and fuel assistance. Your benefits last for a period of three years before you need to enroll again, and there is no annual review process. You also have the choice whether to receive benefits on a Vermont EBT card or as cash deposited directly into your bank account. To learn more about how you can benefit from 3SquaresVT, contact Michelle Mahikoa, Nutrition Outreach Specialist, at 802-479-7524 or mmahikoa@cvcoa.org.

Community Meals & Food Resources

The Washington County list includes dozens of free breakfasts, lunches and dinners, plus resources like food shelves and food distribution sites in Central VT.  It was updated in late October and can be found here.  

FEAST Transitions Continue 

Kim handing out feast farm flowersHello, my name is Kim Myers. I am your new FEAST Program Manager. I am thrilled to be in this role to serve you! In case you want to know a little bit about me… I live in Montpelier with my husband, my 8 year old daughter, and our dog Lentil. I cherish being a part of this community, and feeding my community is an important part of who I am. I have a background in farming, food justice, and working with food bank programs. I am passionate about sourcing local food for our seniors and providing fresh and tasty meals. I am also a caretaker and advocate, so I look forward to helping folks use the FEAST program as a launching pad to connect with other services and organizations.

We are working on our transition back to daily meal delivery, and I am looking for more volunteers. Our kitchen needs volunteers for meal prep and packing. The kitchen at MSAC is a great place to spend your time. Our kitchen bustles with delicious smells and  interesting people! We are also looking for Meals on Wheels delivery drivers. This volunteer job is SO rewarding. Our drivers are very important to us, and the connections they make with the folks on their routes are extremely valuable. If you are interested in volunteering with us, please reach out to me at: 262-6288 or kmyers@montpelier-vt.org. Warmest wishes to you, Kim

Community Strength Award 

On Saturday, October 9, FEAST received a Community Strength Award from the Central Vermont Council on Aging.  We celebrated coming back together as a community to support aging services with a Zoom event. This event featured a comedic story, music,  special video messages, a creative aging activity, and more. During the event, FEAST and other meal providers were presented with a Community Strength award for their heroic efforts to keep our older Vermonters safe and cared for during the pandemic. We are grateful for the award and even more grateful for the opportunity to work with CVCOA to provide meals for our community. See more offerings from CVCOA on p. 11 in our November newsletter

FEAST Farm Journal (mid-October)

Cherry tomatoes Oct 2021Can you see the morning fog start to settle in the fields? Can you feel the first bite of chill in the mornings? Imagine us at FEAST Farm, knee deep in mist, carrying the last  tomato harvests out in red  harvest bins. After a hectic and full season, the end-of-season farm ritual is a relief. It goes like this: clear the plants from a field. Rake the field. Plant a cover crop. Water. As they begin to wane, row after row of vegetables are converted to row after row of pea shoots and oats, alfalfa and rye. There are plenty of fall crops still living on the fields (have you seen the pumpkin patch? Enormous orange bulbs spurting out of knobby stems?), but we are definitely on the downslope. This last month, FEAST Farm has been held by the ever-constant hand of Jac as well as a small, rotating crew of indominable volunteers.   Hundreds of pounds of food from the summer has been processed and stored away. There is less to be done urgently. We continue our end-of-season ritual and wait for winter.     ~ by Leila Faulstich, Parks VHCB AmeriCorps member

 Learn More about FEAST Farm

Want to learn more about FEAST Farm and how it supports FEAST Senior Meals? Visit the website at https://www.montpelier-vt.org/1235/FEAST-Farm.  Sarah Lipton wrote an article in the recently VT-published zine called Grounded: How Vermonters are cultivating transformative relationships with the land. The zine is a project of 350VT and full of great stories. Check out Sarah’s on page 30-31

Social Media Volunteer for FEAST

Do you have some extra time on your hands and some skill with writing? FEAST is looking for some help with managing our Facebook page. If you are interested, please reach out to Sarah Lipton at 262-6288. 

FEAST Farm featured in new zine article

Want to learn more about FEAST Farm and how it supports FEAST Senior Meals? Sarah Lipton wrote a fabulous article in the recently published zine called Grounded: How Vermonters are cultivating transformative relationships with the landThe zine is a project of 350VT and full of great stories. Check out Sarah’s on page 30-31 here. You can also view or download a PDF directly, here, (her story page 16 there) and we’ll have some hard copies at MSAC within the coming weeks if you’d like to request one. Contact Sarah for more info at 262-6288 or slipton@montpelier-vt.org

Field of Dreams Baseball Card Collection Show-and-Tell with Tim White

Baseball cards with Tim White 8-20-21Every Friday at FEAST Curbside Picnics at Montpelier Senior Activity Center, we invite members to bring something to show or a story to share, around 12:45pm. We're excited to share that on Friday, 8/20, we had the opportunity to see an incredible collection of autographed baseball cards, lovingly collected and curated by Tim White. To add to the baseball celebration, FEAST offered fresh popcorn to-go for those who stopped by to see Tom's collection in the courtyard under the pergola at 58 Barre Street. Thanks, Tim!



Increase in 3SquaresVT Benefit Amounts and Help to Apply 

Hunger Free Vermont and the Vermont Foodbank are pleased that the Biden Administration and USDA have announced a long-awaited update to the SNAP (known in Vermont as 3SquaresVT) “Thrifty Food Plan.” The updated plan will now more closely reflect the true cost of food. This long-overdue change will result in roughly a 25% increase in 3SquaresVT benefit amounts and will help tens of thousands of our neighbors afford a healthy, nutritious diet for themselves and their families. To read the whole press release in VT Digger, click here

To get help to apply, contact the Senior Helpline at 1-800-642-5119. There are also two newly-released tutorials designed for Vermonters who would like to apply on their own for 3SVT and 3SNP

FEAST Farm Tour Report: A Resounding Success!

By Sarah Lifarm tour 6-29-21pton, FEAST Program Manager

On June 29, 15 Montpelier teens working at the farm this summer through the new Montpelier Youth Conservation Corps (MYCC) gathered together under the tent at Montpelier’s FEAST Farm (5 Home Farm Way), and families with young children scarfed down garlic-scape scones (baked by Good Taste Catering with the farm’s own scapes), while listening to jaunty fiddle tunes of Park Director, Alec Ellsworth.

Joining them were older adults from the community, most of the management team for the City of Montpelier, Mayor Anne Watson, representatives from Central Vermont Council on Aging, the State Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living (DAIL), local church meal volunteers, VT Foodbank representatives, Allison Levin from Community Harvest of Central Vermont, and the extraordinary Parks Department staff who made the Farm possible. 

 And Senator Bernie Sanders showed up!

The goal of the Farm Tour was to raise awareness of the Farm, the intricacies of the partnerships thatfarm tour bernie and kids 6-29-21 make it possible and the innovation occurring within the program. The FEAST Farm grows organic produce to feed the senior community who receive nutritious meals from the FEAST Senior Meals Program. Senator Sanders wanted to learn more from the MYCC youth about their experience and held an engaging conversation with them.

Senator Sanders confirmed he didn’t know of any other capital city producing food for its community in this way and will bring word back to Washington. Mary Woodruff from DAIL said the FEAST Farm model is something that Vermont should replicate in other communities. 

To learn more about the FEAST Farm, FEAST Senior Meals Program, and how to get involved, contact FEAST Program Manager Sarah Lipton: slipton@montpelier-vt.org or 262-6288.

Another Food Resource: CSFP 

Commodity Supplemental Food Program is a monthly box of shelf-stable foods that income eligible folks over 60 can access. To get help applying or learn about other resources to stretch your food budget and increase your nutrition, call the Helpline: 1-800-642-5119.

FEAST Recipe Corner: Baked Cauliflower Tots

FEAST is happy to be celebrating the beginning of summer, health and nutritious veggies, so we wanted to offer you this simple, delicious recipe created by the VT Foodbank's VT Fresh Network. Click here to view it! All ingredients can be locally sourced. Enjoy the recipe and make enough to share with a friend (by safely delivering, of course!). Try these baked cauliflower tots for a fun twist on this nutrient rich veggie. This is a kid AND senior approved side dish or snack! Try dipping in ketchup or a savory Greek yogurt dip. This recipe makes 4-6 servings. If you have a favorite recipe you would like to feature, send it to us at FEAST@montpelier-vt.org

3SquaresVT in a SNAP: A simpler way to get food assistance 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 1 in 3 Vermont residents has experienced hardships buying groceries. 3SquaresVT, Vermont’s name for the Federal program SNAP, provides monthly monetary benefits that help Vermont residents stretch their food budgets, ensuring everyone has enough nourishing food to eat. Households in which everyone is either 60 and over or receive disability benefits may be eligible for 3Squares in a SNAP, a simpler application process that can enroll you in both food assistance and fuel assistance. Your benefits last for a period of three years before you need to enroll again, and there is no annual review process. You also have the choice whether to receive benefits on a Vermont EBT card or as cash deposited directly into your bank account. To learn more about how you can benefit from 3SquaresVT, visit vermontfoodhelp.com.

FEAST apple words
Your Words Matter!
Back in February, FEAST staff and volunteers polled recipients to find out what FEAST means to them. Thanks to those efforts, we are pleased to share this new image with you. May it inspire! Click on the image to enlarge it!


FEAST Partner Offers Plentiful Access to Nutritious Food
At Just Basics, Inc., we have enjoyed a long and strong relationship with FEAST. Our two organizations share a mission of ensuring our community has easy and plentiful access to nutritious food and referring guests to other support services as much as we’re able.

Just Basics runs the Montpelier Food Pantry and other programs that help end cycles of injustice. The Pantry serves approximately 700 community members each month, helping folks in Central Vermont confront food insecurity in these difficult times. Much like FEAST, the Pantry is still only doing curbside pick up as we are not yet able to welcome guests back into the Pantry.

Located at the back entrance of Trinity Church (137 Main Street), the Pantry is open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, from 10 am to 12noon. We have also recently added online ordering to our program -- which has been popular and helps patrons avoid long wait times -- and we’re currently expanding our pilot home delivery program.

Please stop by during Pantry hours or order ahead and pick up at your designated time. CLICK HERE to order online, or visit our website for more information. To donate food, please drop items at the Pantry entrance during operating hours; to donate money, you may donate online or email Development and Communications Manager Jolynda Burton.