RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — Organizers of a program that buys meals from Vermont restaurants and distributes them across the state during the pandemic are working to find funding to keep the program going through the end of the state of emergency.

Everyone Eats buys meals from restaurants and distributes them through 14 hubs. At the end of last year, the program was paused because of funding concerns.

The only requirement for those served by Everyone Eats is to certify that their access to food has been hurt by the pandemic.

Organizers announced it would resume last month, but they could promise to keep it going for only three weeks while they look for longer-term funding.

“Right now what we’re looking at is trying to secure funds through the fiscal year, so June 30," said Jean Hamilton, Everyone Eats statewide coordinator for Southeastern Vermont Community Action.

The Rutland Herald reports officials are considering adjusting the program to include ways to reach more people in marginalized communities and how to reach as many restaurants as possible.

Hamilton said funding from the Legislature is contingent on reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is contingent on the state of emergency being in place.

Gov. Phil Scott issued the state of emergency in March to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. It has been extended every month. and there is no indication when it will be lifted.

Everyone Eats distributes meals with partners in religion, education and health care. Farmers benefit because some of the restaurants need more products.

Hamilton said all the hubs are now up and running.

In other cononavirus news in Vermont:



Vermont reported 129 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday for a statewide total since the pandemic began of over 12,300.

The Health Department reported three more deaths for a total of 179 to date.

A total of 52 people were hospitalized with eight in intensive care.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 153.43 on Jan. 19 to 130.14 on Feb. 2.