Free Local Food Resources to Feed Your Family during the Pandemic
If you have lost pay, been laid off from work, or are working reduced hours, you may be struggling to cover food costs. Whether this is a new situation for you or a situation you have been in before, know that you are not alone and there are a number of free food resources available close to home. These programs are for ALL Vermonters and can help you and your family stay healthy and well-nourished through this emergency.
Meal access for families with children ages 0-18
Right now, every school district and supervisory union in the state is providing free breakfast and lunch to all children 18 and younger through the end of June. Dial 2-1-1 to find out how you can begin accessing healthy meals for your kids today.
An additional step you can take, to help your family and those in your neighborhood, is to fill out an application for free and reduced-price school meals. If your financial situation has changed due to the pandemic, you may now be eligible for this program. Having as many families as possible apply for school meals helps determine how much federal Title 1 funding your school is eligible for, can make the school eligible for summer and after school meal programs, and provide additional benefits for families including a cash benefit during the pandemic that will be available soon. The application can be accessed here. Please mail the completed form to your child’s school.
WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is another useful program that provides access to food, nutrition education, counseling, and other resources to families with a pregnant household member or child up to age five. Families can use WIC benefits to purchase qualifying food items, including formula. To find out more and get help applying, dial 2-1-1 or text ‘VTWIC’ to 855-11.
3SquaresVT (known nationally as SNAP) is the country’s largest food assistance program. Households receiving 3SquaresVT benefits have a plastic EBT card (similar to a debit card) that can be used to buy food at most grocery stores, convenience stores, and markets. This program helps all qualifying families get dignified access to food that nourishes their family. To find out more and get help applying dial 2-1-1.
Meal Programs for Older Vermonters
People age 60 and older may be able to have meals delivered to their homes through Meals on Wheels. For more information about meals for older adults, call the Helpline at 1-800-642-5119.
Food assistance through the Vermont Foodbank network
The Vermont Foodbank is dedicated to supporting Vermonters during all times of need. To find a food shelf near you, call 1-800-585-2265 or visit https://www.vtfoodbank.org/agency-locator.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of VSECU.