3SquaresVT benefits in jeopardy

The Shelburne Food Shelf serves about 65 households per month. Almost all of the people who use this service are also receiving 3SquaresVT – the Vermont Food Stamp program. There are a mix of families that visit us. Some are elderly on fixed incomes, some are young families struggling to get by on two or three low paying jobs, and some are enmeshed in generational poverty. All are our neighbors.

The Federal government has proposed changes to eligibility for the food stamp program (SNAP) which will make it much harder for Vermont to use this program flexibly. In short, the proposed changes will make it impossible for Vermont to provide the 3SquaresVT benefit to families with slightly higher than allowed income but also with high expenses (medical expenses, heating fuel costs, childcare expenses, housing costs, etc.). This change will remove 3SquaresVT benefits from a number of the households who come to the Shelburne Food Shelf. Because of the way access to free or reduced price school lunches are calculated, any children from these households may also lose access to school meals if this change in enacted.

Access to SNAP benefits is proven to reduce hunger, lift people out of poverty and lead to positive short- and long-term health, education and employment outcomes. We oppose the proposed changes to the program, and hope this convinces you to oppose them as well. You can take action by visiting Hunger Free VT’s website to send a comment to the USDA in opposition to this plan. The comment period ends on Sept. 23. The link is here: www.hungerfreevt.org/protect3squaresvt.

You may also write to the Vermont congressional delegation to ask for their help in protecting the 3SquaresVT program. They
are most easily reached through their websites: Leahy.senate.gov; Sanders.senate.gov; and, welch.house.gov.

Thank you for considering and taking action to help your neighbors.

Susan Stock

Chair, Shelburne Food Shelf Board of Directors

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