3SquaresVT: More than just food

Photo of senior citizen with words 5.9% of Vermont Seniors Face Hunger.

Today’s post was written by Emily Cohen, the Vermont Foodbank’s Senior & Adult Programs Manager.

Back in December, we wrote about the Vermont Foodbank’s efforts to connect older adults with food resources like 3SquaresVT. Since then, we’ve been trying out new methods to reach more older adults in Vermont through public housing sites, home visits, senior centers, and new partnerships. While we are proud of the work we do, it’s also not really about us. It feels important to take a moment to shine a light on the courage it takes for a person to decide to reach out, learn about a resource, and sign up. They are really the ones taking action.

I met Joseph earlier this year. He generously agreed to share his story, so we can all better understand the sorts of decisions some older adults face. He hopes his story lends courage to others to take the step to sign up for 3SquaresVT. He sees 3SquaresVT as a tool that has helped with more than just food, improving quality of life by lowering financial stress, and better equipping him in his role as a caretaker.

Joseph first reached out to me by email. He was nervous, but agreed to a home visit to learn more:

At our age things of this sort make us nervous because we do not always understand the process.  Harold is 83 and I am approaching age 70. We are both on limited income and we try to make every penny count.   When I shop for groceries I look for the least expensive things and sometime refrain from buying items because of the cost. I try to give us balanced meals but sometimes it is difficult because of the price of food. Harold has high medical costs due to lymphoma, and I try to do my best as his caretaker, yet we can’t always afford the foods we need. The extra help would make things easier for us as we try to live out our senior years. Like I said, we get nervous over things which are new to us and we wonder if we are able to qualify. Thanks for your concern and I look forward to getting your call on Thursday.

During the home visit, Joseph listened carefully to all the details about 3SquaresVT. He understood that the extra money each month for food would be an important tool in care taking for his friend Harold. Joseph was patient yet efficient with the steps of the application process. A few months after signing up for 3SquaresVT, Joseph reflected:

The application process turned out to be an easy process. Several days after we received a letter in the mail stating that we qualified and were told the amount we would receive monthly for food. We are now eating well-balanced meals and these funds have taken the pressure off of securing finances to buy food. Although it can be somewhat humbling to apply for the 3SquaresVT program, in the end it has helped us tremendously and we would recommend the program to those who need this help.


Do you know a neighbor, friend, or family member like Joseph who might want to take action with 3SquaresVT? Or who might want to share their story and inspire others?

Together we can ensure 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 or 3SquaresVT program page on the web.