Birong’s food truck offers relief

VERGENNES RESTAURATEUR MATT Birong along with other volunteers serve food out of Birong’s 3 Squares Café food truck in Johnson last week. World Central Kitchen elicited the help of many Vermonters to help provide nourishing food to those impacted by the floods this month.  Photo courtesy of Matt Birong

VERMONT — In the past few weeks, the excessive rainfall has left parts of Vermont devastated with flood damage. Hundreds of folks from around the state have rushed out to help those most affected by the rainfall, including Matt Birong of Vergennes.

Birong, owner of the Vergennes restaurant 3 Squares Cafe, offered up his eatery’s food truck to assist in any way possible with Vermont’s relief efforts. World Central Kitchen, an international relief agency, arrived in Vermont after the floods as soon as it was safe to do so to provide food for those overwhelmed by the disaster. 

In order to make it happen, the organization reached out to local folks for help. Upon seeing the aftermath of the floods, Birong, who also happens to be a state representative for Northwest Addison County, had reached out to different organizations to offer them his food truck as a resource if it was needed. World Central Kitchen then reached out to him and his team and agreed to run the food truck for three nights in the town of Johnson, one of the heavily impacted areas. 

Birong showed up in Johnson with his truck three days last week — Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday (July 18, 19 and 21). 

“We basically prepped everything at the restaurant,” Birong said. “We took the catering trailer up to Johnson. They rotated dinner and lunch shifts in six or seven different locations throughout the state, one of them was the church in Johnson that we went to.”

World Central Kitchen’s main goal is to be an immediate response effort to natural disasters. It tends to arrive immediately in the wake of a natural disasters and provide food for those in need. 

Birong was among several other state legislators who got involved in relief efforts, and one of hundreds of Vermonters who got involved. Birong’s Democratic colleague Rep. Daniel Noyes of Johnson volunteered to serve food in his hometown. Addison County State Sen. Ruth Hardy also helped serve food in Johnson and with clean up in areas outside of Montpelier. And World Central Kitchen garnered the aid of 20 restaurant, catering and food truck partners across the state, and was able to provide 9,100 meals total to residents affected by the floods. 

In terms of long term resources and aid there is still much to be done. 

“There’s gonna be a lot of work needed to get those things back into shape,” Birong said. “There was piles of trash everywhere (in Johnson). Every day we came, it was different. People were ripping out the walls to prevent mold.”

He explained that repairing the damage is going to be a long process and it’s important to continue providing support to the Vermonters who need it.

“Our job now is to make sure these resources are sustained for people who need it,” he said.

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