Today’s blog is by Shane Collins, 3SquaresVT Outreach Coordinator. 

Those of us who call ourselves “Vermonters” are a different breed than the rest of America. We’re self-sufficient. Many of us grow our own vegetables, heat our homes with the wood we cut, and make breakfast from the eggs of the hens we raised from chicks. Brutal winters have made us ruggedly independent. We live here knowing the next snow storm, the next power outage, the next crisis could be right around the bend in the dirt road. We would never hesitate to help our neighbor but no one – especially a Vermonter – wants to ask for help themselves. But when it comes to applying for 3SquaresVT food benefits, here are the top 5 reasons why you should let the Vermont Foodbank help you out.

  1. You’re More Likely to Get Approved for Benefits. Applications that are filled out with the assistance of the Vermont Foodbank’s 3SquaresVT Outreach Team have a higher acceptance rate than the national average.3SquaresVT Our team, consisting of Sally, Shane, and Rachel, have received extensive training on the rules and regulations of applying for SNAP benefits. They regularly attend trainings hosted by the State of Vermont, as well as other non-profits. They participate in a monthly 3SquaresVT workgroup, have contacts within the state, enroll in online webinars, and are informed of changes to the application process as they occur. Utilizing their expertise can help reduce application errors that could cause the State to deny your benefits.
  2. Get Help for More Than Just 3SquaresVT. When you come to the Vermont Foodbank for help, we can often find other forms of assistance that you may be eligible for and not even know. We help many of our clients apply for Fuel Assistance, Commodities and Reach Up. Often, we can direct people to community lunches, SASH drops, or help you find one of our network food shelves in your area. For Veterans, we can pass along information on VA housing facilities. We can even help you receive information on becoming a Registered Voter.
  3. Reach a Person, Not a Call Center.When you call us, you know exactly who you’ll be talking to. You’ll speak with one person on our team who will be your go-to contact through the entire process. We’ll listen to your story, let you know which programs you may be eligible for, and work with you one-on-one to assist however we can. We can fill out your application over the phone – or even visit you in the comfort of your own home. And after we complete the initial application, people we help are not only able, but are encouraged to call, text, and email us with any questions or concerns. We cultivate relationships with our clients that sometimes last years.
  4. Expedite the Process. When we complete your application, we can anticipate the accompanying documentation the state will want, including identification, pay stubs, lease agreements, and medical deductions. We can scan all of this paperwork on-site and include everything with your application in one packet, reducing the time it will take the state to make a decision on your case.
  5. Help Doesn’t Stop Once We Mail Your Application. If you allow us to be your Alternate Reporter, we can stay up to dat