Hunger in AmericaHunger in America (HIA) is the largest study of charitable food assistance in America. It documents how clients are accessing the charitable food system, how often, and through what kinds of agencies and programs. Here, we offer an excerpt of the study, documenting the types of agencies and programs surveyed within the Vermont Foodbank network.

To read the full report, as well as key Vermont findings, visit our Hunger in America webpage.

“At the time of the Agency Survey, the Vermont Foodbank reported partnering with 256 agencies (20). The data presented in this chapter are based on weights applied to the study’s sample data that allow us to estimate the characteristics of the food bank’s network, including partner agencies that completed the Agency Survey and partner agencies that did not participate. As with other food banks, such partner agencies can include both faith-based agencies and agencies that are not faith-based.

  • 27 percent of agencies are faith-based
  • 73 percent of agencies are not faith-based

“Agencies serve clients through various food and nonfood programs. Food banks are usually unaffiliated with nonfood programs, but the Agency Survey probed respondents to enumerate their nonfood programs in an effort to get a full picture of the partner agencies’ services. An individual agency may operate one or more local programs that provide services directly to clients.

“Food-related benefits programs typically involve outreach, education, information and referrals, and/or application assistance to obtain federal or state food assistance benefits; they also encompass nutrition education programs, such as workshops on healthy eating.

“Other nonfood programs have a primary purpose other than meal programs, grocery programs, or food-related benefits programs such as clothing or furniture assistance, housing or utility and heat assistance (i.e. Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program), health clinics, legal assistance, job training, or financial assistance, including assistance with taxes or budgeting education.

“In the area served by Vermont Foodbank, partner agencies operate a total of 539 programs, including:

  • 165 grocery programs
  • 160 meal programs
  • 14 food-related benefits programs
  • 201 other nonfood programs

“Among food programs, grocery programs represent 51 percent of programs, while meal programs represent 49 percent (see figure 4). Grocery programs include programs like food pantries and mobile pantries that distribute groceries, whereas meal programs are those that serve meals to clients at locations such as (soup) kitchens, shelters, and residential facilities.

“For a detailed breakdown of the types of programs included in Hunger in America 2014, as well as their target age group, please see Figure 3.”

Vermont Foodbank Meal and Grocery Programs

This was an excerpt from the Hunger in America study, the largest study of charitable food assistance in America. To read the full report, as well as Vermont-specific findings, visit our website.


(20) Because weighting takes the size of nonresponding agencies into account when producing an estimate, it is possible for the estimated number of agencies to fall slightly below or above the actual number of agencies.