Editor's note: This commentary is by Anore Horton, of Williston, the executive director of Hunger Free Vermont.
In this stressful time, we all need enough food at home to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy. Hunger Free Vermont wants you to know that there are a number of food resources available to help you and your neighbors -- we’re all in this together as part of a caring, responsive Vermont community.
If your household has reduced income, you may now be eligible for nutrition programs that help out in unexpected situations. If you’ve never used these food resources before, please know they are here for everyone.
Please visit www.hungerfreevt.org/news/coronavirus for information about how you can apply for 3SquaresVT, school meals, WIC, and prepared meals for older Vermonters. All of these programs not only provide access to healthy food and free up other household income, but they bring much-needed federal dollars into Vermont to support our local farmers, grocery stores, and food distributors.
Hunger Free Vermont is committed to nourishing community connections in the midst of this health crisis, and we are standing for a future of universal nutrition programs that support us all.
Here are nutrition programs you and your family may now be eligible for:
School Meals: Most districts will still be providing meals to students during this closure. If your family's financial situation changes you can apply or re-apply for free school meals at any time during the school year, even if you have not qualified in the past! Contact your school for an application.
WIC: WIC gives you access to healthy foods, nutrition education and counseling, and breastfeeding support. If you’re pregnant, a caregiver, or a parent with a child under five, WIC is right for you! To find out more and apply visit www.healthvermont.gov/family/wic or text ‘VTWIC’ to 855-11.
3SquaresVT: Has your household lost pay? Have your childcare expenses increased? 3SquaresVT is here for you and your family to help put food on the table! You could be eligible to receive a 3SquareVT benefit or increase the benefit you already receive. To get help applying visit www.vtfoodbank.org/nurture-people/3squaresvt, call 855-855-6181 or text VFBSNAP to 85511. Or call 2-1-1. You can also visit dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/3SquaresVT.
Meal Programs for Older Vermonters: People age 60 and older are especially encouraged to stay at home in order to protect themselves from Covid-19, but staying well nourished is also critical for your health. For more information about meals for older adults that can be either delivered or picked up, please call the Helpline at 1-800-642-5119.
Food assistance through the Vermont Foodbank network: The Vermont Foodbank is dedicated to supporting Vermonters during all times of need. To find a food shelf near you, call 1-800-585-2265 or visit www.vtfoodbank.org/agency-locator.Hunger Free Vermont will be updating our website regularly with new information to connect Vermonters to food resources. Visit www.hungerfreevt.org/news/coronavirus