You’re Helping Jo, Who’s Helping Her Neighbors

Jo is a recently retired art teacher living in southern Vermont. She works part time in a local store, but it’s not enough to make ends meet. Thanks to you, food is one less thing she has to go without.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone here in Vermont, but for older adults who live alone and face food insecurity, the difficulties run deep.

“I collect my social security, that comes third of the week. When that comes in that covers my rent,” says Jo, a life-long Vermont resident. “So I’m afraid to buy food. I’m afraid I don’t have money to pay my electric and my phone bill and TV.”

Recently retired after years working as an art instructor at a local elementary school, Jo is now living alone and works part-time at a store to make ends meet. She loves her job and notes how it keeps her connected to her community, saying that customers often ask after her on the days she’s not working. But her irregular schedule often conflicts with free food distribution events, and her paycheck isn’t always enough.

“I’m probably just skimming by with my bills, which leaves me not very much money to buy food,” Jo says.

Jo knows how to stretch her meals. She recently cooked a whole chicken dinner with roasted sweet potatoes and butternut squash. She brought a plate to her sister and, after that, she expects the leftovers to last two or three days.

Despite her own challenges with food insecurity, Jo still helps her neighbors in need by dropping off food items at her local soup kitchen. Even that has become difficult during the pandemic. “I can see it,” Jo says of the increased need for food assistance in her town since the pandemic. “I went by the church and [there] was a big line of people that [were there] to get free food.”

But things are changing for Jo. Thanks to the support of the Vermont Foodbank community, we were able to help get Jo signed up to receive monthly boxes of food, as well as funds to purchase groceries.

It is because of community support, from friends like you, that older adults and neighbors across Vermont have the nourishment needed to take good care of themselves, their loved ones, and their communities.

Support neighbors during this difficult time, if you can. Give help.

Are you in need of help? We’re here. Get help.

Help get food to neighbors who need it. Volunteer.

September Is Hunger Action Month

    Provide nourishing meals to neighbors experiencing hunger here in Vermont.

    Real stories from real people helps to raise awareness about hunger in Vermont.

    Help us on a glean, at a food distribution, or in one of our warehouses!

    Stay up-to-date on the issue of hunger in Vermont.

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  • Matthew works at Foodworks food shelf, one of the 353 community organizations that partners with Vermont Foodbank working towards a food-secure vermont.

  • Elysia lives in St. Johnsbury and is a community consultant for Vermont Foodbank. She brings her expertise to help improve services and increase access to food for folks in her community.

  • This month, we're celebrating you and those who've offered the Gift of Support and in so doing have joined us on the journey of creating a food-secure Vermont by sharing part of a recent interview with friend and neighbor Sara.