The Vermont Foodbank and SASH® (Support and Services at Home, a comprehensive care-coordination model managed through nonprofit housing organizations throughout Vermont), have extended their partnership for a third year, making it more efficient and cost-effective for the Foodbank to reach Vermonters statewide.
“With SASH programs and coordinators based at affordable-housing sites in all 14 counties, it’s a ‘win-win’ for us to collaborate to ensure that healthy food gets into the hands of all who need it,” says SASH training specialist Amy Perez, who oversees the SASH side of the operation. “The Foodbank simply drops off the food at each SASH site, and we take care of the marketing and distribution.”
SASH coordinators are already working with residents at the housing sites and with low-income elders in the community, so they know what and where the needs are, Perez adds — and using their existing network of volunteers, SASH coordinators can arrange food deliveries to those who are homebound.
In addition to making sure the food gets into the right hands, SASH coordinators are responsible for promoting the program to community members and ensuring that all food is safely stored and handled in compliance with national “Feeding America” guidelines.
“Working with a statewide organization like SASH helps us reach all corners of the state,” notes Jason Maring, chief operations officer of the Foodbank. “This partnership not only increases our efficiencies and helps our dollars go further, it allows us to integrate an approach to wellness at a level we’ve been challenged to reach in the past.”
With distribution centers in Barre, Brattleboro and Rutland, the Vermont Foodbank is the state’s largest hunger- relief organization, providing more than 153,000 food-insecure Vermonters with fresh produce, baked goods, dairy products, canned goods and other healthy food items. (Information: vtfoodbank.org)
SASH was developed in 2009 by Cathedral Square Corporation, a nonprofit organization founded in Burlington in 1977 and a leader in the development of affordable, service-enriched housing communities for seniors and individuals with special needs. Now available statewide in more than 100 communities, SASH combines the strength of social service agencies, community health providers and nonprofit housing organizations to help Vermonters age safely and healthily at home. Participants live in affordable housing, including 23 senior housing facilities developed and managed by Cathedral Square, as well in surrounding communities. (Information: sashvt.org)
# # #