ST. ALBANS — The good news for food shelves locally and across the state is that Act 148, the state’s recycling law, is diverting food from landfills to food shelves.
The challenge is that much of that food is perishable – meat, dairy and produce – and food shelves don’t have the capacity to store and distribute it.
Robert Ostermeyer, director of Franklin-Grand Isle Community Action, estimates the agency’s food shelf, Northwest Family Foods (NFF), will give out $300,000 worth of food this year.
In addition, Northwest Healthy Roots is gleaning in area fields, bringing the produce that wouldn’t otherwise get used into food shelves.
Food shelves also receive food from the Vermont Food Bank. The food bank, too, is providing more perishable foods, especially fruits and vegetables, according to Ostermeyer.
Most food shelves are in community centers and church basements, and lack the refrigeration and freezer space needed to store perishable foods, explained Ostermeyer. “It ends up in a church basement run by volunteers with very limited storage,” he said.
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