Hunger in Ver­mont

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Burling­ton, VT

U.S. Sen. Bernie San­ders (I-Vt.) said yes­ter­day that “un­con­scionable” cuts in a fed­eral emer­gency hunger pro­gram have re­sulted in a 50 per­cent re­duc­tion in food sup­plies from that pro­gram for the Ver­mont Foodbank.

The foodbank runs pro­grams through a net­work of 280 food shelves, community cen­ters, churches, schools and se­nior cen­ters.

The foodbank has ex­pe­ri­enced short­ages be­cause of deep cuts in dis­cre­tionary al­lot­ments by the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture Emer­gency Food As­sis­tance Pro­gram which helps work­ing fam­i­lies, the el­derly, chil­dren and the home­less.

“At a time when many Ver­mon­ters are strug­gling to make ends meet, many low-in­come house­holds – in­clud­ing work­ing fam­i­lies, the el­derly and chil­dren – rely on emer­gency food shelves for short-term hunger re­lief,” San­ders said at a news con­fer­ence at the Chit­ten­den County Emer­gency Food Shelf.

“It is sim­ply un­ac­cept­able that in this day and age, Ver­mont chil­dren go to bed hun­gry. And, it is un­con­scionable that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment would cut back on food and nu­tri­tion as­sis­tance to states as our na­tion strug­gles to re­cover from the worst re­ces­sion since the Great De­pres­sion,” he added.

San­ders was joined at the news con­fer­ence by John Sayles, the Ver­mont Foodbank CEO, and Rob Mee­han, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Chit­ten­den Emer­gency Food Shelf.

The se­na­tor warned that more cuts may be on the way be­cause the House has re­fused to con­sider the Se­natepassed farm bill which funds many other fed­eral food as­sis­tance pro­grams such as food stamps, the Com­mod­ity Sup­ple­men­tal Food Pro­gram, the School Lunch Pro­gram and the Sum­mer Food Ser­vice Pro­gram.

Na­tion­wide, hunger is at an all-time high in the United States. Last year, al­most 45 mil­lion peo­ple – or one in ev­ery seven Amer­i­cans – re­ceived food stamps, more than at any other time in our na­tion’s his­tory.

In Ver­mont, more than one in eight house­holds do not have the money to fully meet their food needs at all times, ac­cord­ing to Hunger Free Ver­mont. More than 12,000 Ver­mont chil­dren de­pend on food shelves each month and al­most 10,000 Ver­mont se­niors face the threat of hunger.

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