Food Stamp Participation Reaches All-Time High in Vermont

first_imgFood Stamp Participation Reaches All-Time High in Vermont During Holiday SeasonBurlington, VT, December 2, 2008 – While many in Vermont were savoring Thanksgiving treats last week, others were signing up for food assistance; 60,062 Vermonters, almost 1 in 10, now participate in the Food Stamp Program according to data released by the Department for Children and Families. This number is up by over 1,500 in just one month, up 7,000 since this time last year, and represents a record high for Vermont.According to Angela Smith-Dieng, Food Stamp Outreach & Policy Specialist at the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger, “The upsurge in participation may be in part due to policy changes that took effect on October 1st. However, given the downturn in the economy coupled with high food and fuel costs, the increase may have more to do with increased need. With hunger on the rise across Vermont, increased participation indicates that more Vermonters are taking advantage of this critical nutrition assistance.”Food stamps are a USDA entitlement program designed to respond quickly to increased need. For a household that is struggling financially, infusing food dollars into their budget frees up money for other expenses. At the same time, by participating in the program they are more likely to be in good health and succeed in school and at work. Thanks to changes made to the program by the Agency of Human Services, thousands more Vermonters will be eligible for these benefits as of January 1, 2009.Smith-Dieng says: “We’re glad that more Vermonters are receiving the food benefits they are entitled to. Nevertheless, 1 in 3 Vermonters are eligible but not participating – we are working hard to spread the word about the expanding program. We invite every Vermonter to spread the word about this program to neighbors who might be struggling: through school and congregation newsletters, local senior centers, town clerks offices, and health clinics.”More information and materials about the Food Stamp Program is available at www.vermontfoodhelp.com(link is external).The Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger is a statewide nonprofit organization that combats hunger through advocacy, education, and technical assistance. Since 1993, VTCECH has been providing communities with the tools to create and sustain local programs that feed children in need. Information on VTCECH, hunger in Vermont and federal nutrition programs is available at www.vtnohunger.org(link is external).###last_img read more

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