Feed the Hungry

Vermont, like other states around the country, is struggling to fulfill the growing needs of people who are hungry. The Vermont Food Bank has said its supply of food had fallen by 50 percent from last year. Burlington's food shelf has seen a dramatic increase in employed clients in need of help this year. As winter closes in and home heating bills stack up, still more Vermonters are turning to the food support network in Vermont for help. Senator Sanders signed onto legislation that would i

Vermont, like other states around the country, is struggling to fulfill the growing needs of people who are hungry. The Vermont Food Bank has said its supply of food had fallen by 50 percent from last year. Burlington's food shelf has seen a dramatic increase in employed clients in need of help this year. As winter closes in and home heating bills stack up, still more Vermonters are turning to the food support network in Vermont for help. Senator Sanders signed onto legislation that would increase support for food banks.

This legislation offers $40 million in emergency funding for the Department of Agriculture's Emergency Food Assistance Program. It would be a temporary fix. The farm bill, as it currently stands, would increase funding of this program from $140 million to $250 million.

The food shortage crisis appears to be the result of a perfect storm; all at once there is rising demand, declining donations of food stuffs from grocery stores and wholesalers, and higher commodity prices. Rob Meehan, the new director at Burlington's Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, told the Free Press there also has been a recent increase in for-profit businesses which compete for inexpensive foods with food shelves.

Today, 45 percent of clients at Burlington's food shelf are employed, a 10 percent increase from 2006. Thirty-six percent of their clients are children. Some 5,500 meals are served and 1,800 households receive groceries from CEFS each month.

To watch Senator Sanders discuss food shelf shortages, click here.


Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf
228 N. Winooski Ave., Burlington
Phone: 658-7939
Hours of Operation: Food distribution open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday; dining room open 7-10:30 a.m. Monday-Friday, 7-9 a.m. and 5:30-6:30 p.m. Sunday



Read the Burlington Free Press editorial on Hunger in Vermont here.

Read the New York Times article on food shelf shortages here.

Read the Burlington Free Press profile of CEFS director Rob Meehan here.

Listen to Vermont Public Radio's Vermont Edition show on this topic here.