Food insecurity rising as food benefits decline

As I write this, overwintering birds scratch at black sunflower seeds, seemingly preparing to brave the brutal cold forecasted for the upcoming weekend. The food energy they consume will hopefully sustain them through record frigid temperatures.

The Charlotte Food Shelf and Assistance stands ready to help those in need as temperatures drop, inflationary pressures mount and winter presents its special economic challenges. We remind the community that, if you or someone you know in Charlotte or North Ferrisburgh is facing utility shut-off or an unexpected hardship, help is available.

All requests and grants are kept private and are available by simply calling 802-425-3252 or by filling out a request form. Request forms are available during food shelf open hours or on our website.

Fuel and food prices certainly challenge the vision of a warm home and full table. According to a recent University of Vermont study, food insecurity, defined by the USDA as a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life, affects two in five Vermonters. Hunger Free Vermont reports that food insecurity has increased 10 percent since last year.

Also, Congress’ passage of the omnibus spending bill portends a cut in Supplemental Nutrition Access Program benefits this spring, which will end the boosted benefit that has helped to sustain 70,000 Vermonters. Hunger Free Vermont expects that hunger will rise and notes that one-person families (such as seniors living alone) may anticipate a loss of $260 per month in benefits.

Community efforts to assure dignified access to food will rise in importance. Included in these efforts is advocacy for the 2023 Farm Bill. Information is available on this website and by listening to a Vermont Public discussion about food assistance.

Especially in these times, we are grateful to Laura and Trafton Crandall, Nan and Ben Mason, Margaret Berlin, Barry and Susan Cluff, Jan Blomstrann, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Charlotte Congregational Church for their generous monetary donations. Louise McCarren’s donation of 200 pounds of beef and Back Door Bread’s donation of bread are also much appreciated.