This semester, the Middlebury Foods Staff was lucky enough to have the opportunity to hear and learn from Katie Green, the Adult Nutrition Incentives Specialist at Hunger Free Vermont. Katie traveled to Middlebury College to host a workshop for students and Midd Foods staffers about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly referred to as SNAP. This is the federal nutrition program formerly known as “food stamps” and the Vermont state program is titled 3Squares Vermont.
Katie was thorough in disseminating her knowledge and information about the program and about food insecurity in Addison County. Food insecurity encompasses situations in which people are lacking access to healthy food, not necessarily just food. In order to apply for 3SquaresVT benefits, you have to fill out an application, and go through an interview process. Recipients then have to reapply for benefits every year. It is an extensive process, but there are mechanisms in place to help Vermonters through the process. 3SquaresVT is a program that is there when you need it. Your application does not deter other people from receiving benefits and SNAP spending actually stimulates the Vermont economy.
All children in households that receive 3SquaresVT benefits are eligible for free school meals, and kids with access to SNAP benefits are 18% more likely to graduate high school, demonstrating how helpful the program can be to families.
The SNAP program is a federal entitlement program and it works to address the structural issues of food insecurity that solutions like food pantries and food drives (while immensely helpful) cannot address.
NOFA VT in conjunction with Wholesome Wave has initiated an incentive program for SNAP benefit recipients at farmers markets. The Crop Cash Incentive Program doubles 3SquaresVT benefits at farmers markets, turning every $10 spent on fruit and vegetables at a farmers market by a SNAP recipient into $20! To learn about how to take part in the Crop Cash program and the participating farmers markets, visit NOFA VT Crop Cash.
For more information about 3SquaresVT please see the list of resources below. And remember, Middlebury Foods accepts SNAP benefits, so you can pay for your order fully or partially with SNAP!
o 1 in 5 children in Addison county are food insecure
o 3,840 Addison County residents participate in 3SquaresVT
o 1 out of 4 eligible Vermonters are not participating in the 3SquaresVT program
o Every $1 of SNAP benefits spent generates $1.70 in economic activity
o Kids with access to SNAP benefits are 18% more likely to graduate high school
Visit vermontfoodhelp.com for more information about 3Sqaures VT including a benefits calculator, information about how to qualify, how to apply, and to begin an application for 3Squares VT benefits!
If you have questions about 3SquaresVT, are interested in more information, or want to learn how to apply, you can also reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can get you in touch with the right people!