Community and state leaders gathered last week in Montpelier to discuss strategies to bring more food dollars to Vermont's low-income seniors.
Marissa Parisi, executive director of the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger, claimed that "Hunger is on the rise among senior citizens in Vermont, yet only 40 percent of those eligible receive 3SquaresVT benefits, commonly called "food stamps".
While many seniors lose out on the help, Vermont also loses out on critical federal dollars to stimulate the economy, an estimated $2 million a month. For these reasons, we brought community leaders together to learn how other states in the region have reached out to the senior population and to figure out ways to tackle the problem."
Over 77,000 Vermonters - 1 in 8 - currently participate in 3SquaresVT, bringing over $9.5 million in benefits into the state each month.
At last week's event, attendees listened to speakers from Rhode Island and Washington D.C. about additional program opportunities, waivers, and outreach strategies to further improve 3SquaresVT participation, specifically for the 13,000 eligible seniors they estimate are not participating in the program.