MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont's congressional delegation says the New Jersey vendor picked for the latest round of a federal food distribution program in Vermont is failing to meet the needs of hungry residents amid the pandemic.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch and independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders sent a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary-designate Tom Vilsack on Friday saying that Global Trading Enterprises, LLC, which won the contract for the latest round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program, “submitted a bid that is seemingly too low for them to deliver food boxes to the areas promised under the contract.”
Global Trading Enterprises is only delivering food boxes to seven locations in just five of the state’s 14 counties, the delegation said.
“This will leave nearly 250 towns, and hundreds Vermont families, without the food assistance they were promised under this federal program,” they wrote in the letter.
The delegation also asked Vilsack to investigation any violations and to award a new contract for March and April to a different vendor.
The delegation said Wednesday that it had not received a response to its letter. An email was sent to Global Trading Enterprises seeking comment.
Vermont reported 59 cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, for a statewide total since the pandemic began of nearly 14,000 cases.
The Health Department reported that 44 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 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 130.14 new cases per day on Feb. 2 to 116 new cases per day on Feb. 16.