Our 3SquaresVT Outreach Team helps older Vermonters access the food they need

Senior Hunger in VT

Today’s post was written by Faye Longo, the Vermont Foodbank’s 3SquaresVT Outreach Coordinator.

Did you know that 6.3% of older Vermonters are food insecure? That means many of our older neighbors are choosing between purchasing their medications, getting to the doctor, paying rent or mortgage, and eating the foods they need. At the Vermont Foodbank, we believe no person should ever have to choose between anything and eating a nutritious meal. That’s why we are working hard every day to change that – here’s one way we’re ensuring older adults in VT have the food they need.

The Vermont Foodbank offers assistance to older Vermonters in applying for 3SquaresVT (also known as SNAP) as well as the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).  3SquaresVT is a federally funded program that provides eligible individuals (of any age) with a monthly benefit that can be used at their local grocery store or farmer’s market. This program helps ensure that Vermonters are able to buy more of the foods they need each month and also helps our local economy. 3SquaresVT can help everyone who qualifies—when one person receives benefits, it doesn’t take them away from anyone else.

CSFP is a program that supplies income eligible Vermonters 60 years and older with a monthly box of shelf stable foods to supplement their food budgets.  Wondering if you know an older Vermonter who might be eligible for these programs, but isn’t signed up yet? Chances are high. Only 40% of eligible Vermonters 60+ are signed up for 3SquaresVT and the number is even lower for CSFP.

Our 3SVT Outreach Team helps Older Vermonters access these programs by:

  • Visiting our Network Partner (local food shelves, meal sites and senior centers) sites throughout the state to offer assistance to the people served there and educate key staff and volunteers on eligibility guidelines and waivers within our state that are unique to older Vermonters,
  • Visiting community senior centers and meal sites,
  • Working with SASH Coordinators across our state,
  • Through home visits for homebound individuals,
  • Over the phone, and
  • Via referrals that can be sent to us in a number of ways.

We offer screening services, one-on-one application assistance to those who are eligible, and we share information regarding eligibility requirements with any and all who are interested.

A disabled Veteran from St. Johnsbury shares a bit of his story: “The Holidays can be a real tough time around here and since I live on a fixed income, sharing meals with my family is how I celebrate. Last year I couldn’t even do that. I wasn’t sure I’d be eligible for 3SVT; owning my own home and with my Veteran’s benefit. The Foodbank helped me with the application and all the documentation, they told me how submitting my out of pocket medical costs could help me and when everything was said and done, I was eligible. It has been great not to have to worry about where my next meal is coming from, and I’m eating better now too!”

Together we can assure that everyone in our state has enough nutritious food to eat each and every day. For more information, to schedule a visit, share ideas, or to learn more about our efforts please call 855-855-6181 or visit: https://www.vtfoodbank.org/nurture-people/3squaresvt.