Vermonters relying on 3SquaresVT as only support up 66 percent in two years
A record 83,342 or 1 in 8 Vermonters currently rely on 3SquaresVT (formerly Food Stamps) to buy their monthly food and participation continues to rise. 3SquaresVT is designed to be a nutrition supplement for limited-income Vermonters; yet as the economic recession lingers and jobs remain scarce, more Vermonters count the benefits as their only source of support. 4,706 Vermonters, 1 in 16 getting 3SquaresVT, have no other source of income, according to a recent New York Times article, “Living on Food Stamps and Nothing Else.” That’s a 66% increase in two years.
Angela Smith-Dieng, Senior 3SquaresVT/Food Stamp Nutrition Program & Policy Specialist at the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger says, “3SquaresVT is the most responsive safety net program helping people in this recession. Vermont’s Department for Children and Families opened up the program to more Vermonters in 2009 by expanding eligibility and continues to work hard to improve the program in 2010, especially through its modernization efforts. However, given the unprecedented need, the system is stressed, meaning individuals, families and seniors inevitably wait longer to receive the food they need.”
In these tough economic times, low-income families and individuals are in greater need of the “safety net” that Vermont has provided over the years to maintain warm homes, and have enough food to eat, said Karen Lafayette, advocate for the Vermont Low-Income Advocacy Council. “Now is not the time to cut the social programs, or reduce or delay access to these critical programs that provide the most basic necessities to the most vulnerable Vermonters. With budget cuts looming over the state once again, the legislature and the administration need to continue to focus supporting families and individuals that are at greater risk.”
Source: 3SquaresVT/Food Stamp Nutrition Program . January 6, 2010 (Burlington, Vermont) –