Walmart Foundation grant helps Vermonters get signed up for 3SquaresVT
This past year, the Vermont Foodbank has been busy helping people throughout Vermont get signed up for 3SquaresVT (a federal nutrition program known nationally as SNAP). Thanks to a $40,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation, the Foodbank has spent the last year working to expand this service to reach more Vermonters, build more partnerships, and be more creative in how we provide assistance to people. This has allowed more people – older Vermonters, college students, working families and people with disabilities – to access the healthy food they need.
One new strategy we kicked off this past year was an automated texting tool that allowed people to learn if they are eligible for 3SquaresVT. By texting VFBSNAP to 85511 and answering a series of questions, anyone in Vermont can now find out if their household may be eligible for the program.
This tool helped a 62-year-old man living with disabilities in Montpelier, VT. After connecting with our team through the texting tool, Vermont Foodbank staff helped him complete an application for 3SquaresVT. He was successful and is now receiving the benefits he needs to purchase healthy food.
After becoming enrolled in the program, he told us this:
“Having 3SquaresVT benefits has been working well and is really helpful. Things are a lot better now than had been the case before. Previous to getting 3SquaresVT benefits, I was under a lot of stress and pressure financially as well as otherwise, and had not been eating well for years as a result. If it was not for the informational flyers and texting program, I probably would not have ended up getting connected and on the program. In fact, after connecting with the Vermont Foodbank by text and then by phone, I was provided with a home visit in order to help complete the rather lengthy and complicated application process in person that very afternoon. This despite there being a snow storm that day. It is extremely helpful for the Vermont Foodbank to be doing this. It was definitely very helpful to me. It certainly makes a huge difference. This is indeed a very worthy outreach program that helps people, like myself, connect and potentially gain 3SquaresVT and other benefits we might be eligible to receive.”
Thank you to the Walmart Foundation for funding this important work and helping ensure people throughout Vermont have access to healthy food.