Level of food insecurity decreases in Vermont, nation

A recent report  by the United States Department of Agriculture shows a drop in food insecure households in Vermont in 2016 (10.11 percent) compared with 2015 (11.43 percent), according to Hunger Free Vermont.

“The incredible progress our team and partners have made in the last few years to increase models like universal free school meals and moving school breakfast to after the bell have dramatically increased participation in child nutrition programs,” said Marissa Parisi, executive director of Hunger Free Vermont. “We also continue to increase accessibility of the 3SquaresVT program and support initiatives that help Vermonters reach economic self-sufficiency and afford nutritious meals at home.”

The full report — “Household Food Security in the United States in 2016” — shows a similar modest reduction in food insecurity nationally.

“We are happy to see working families getting what they need and to see this reflected in the food security numbers,” Parisi said. “However, we are very concerned that our growing senior population is still the demographic with the lowest participation in 3SquaresVT.

“Seniors are often isolated in Vermont, living on fixed incomes, and particularly adverse to the perceived stigma around utilizing 3SquaresVT benefits. We have been focusing on this population for years, and outreach to this population will continue to be critical in the coming years.”