Food resources are available for those who are hungry

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, 1 in 3 Americans say they have experienced hunger, and many have faced unemployment and financial hardship. Additionally, a 2021 study found hunger is associated with a 257-percent-higher risk of anxiety and a 253-percent-higher risk of depression.

Life during COVID-19 has only exacerbated these issues and made them even harder to manage.

Two organizations - Hunger Free Vermont and COVID Support VT - are informing all Vermonters that a number of free resources are available to help you put food on the table and support your mental health.

“Many of us are just one unexpected bill - a blown tire, a broken leg - away from experiencing food insecurity,” the two organizations said in a joint news release.

“This can be devastating for emotional health and overall well-being. Reliable access to healthy food is something we all deserve, yet tens of thousands of people in our state feel the emotional and financial effects of struggling to afford groceries.”

Those who face economic disparities and barriers to affordable housing, employment, and treatment for physical and mental health, among other resources, are often most affected. Black and Hispanic households, households headed by women, and households with children are even more at risk to experience hunger and associated stress.

Here are some of the resources that are out there:

• COVID Support VT works to help Vermonters ease the mental health impacts of the pandemic. Its support counselors provide emotional support through a call line, available by dialing 211 and selecting option 2.

These services are entirely anonymous, free, and available Monday through Friday. Counselors can help people explore coping skills, offer a pathway to community-based resources, and help with filling out applications to social service benefits - many of which alleviate food insecurity.

Because mental wellness is often dictated by the social contributors to mental health (food security, access to housing, childcare, long-term support systems and mental healthcare, employment), counselors use their knowledge of these systems to help callers problem-solve.

• 3SquaresVT can help families stretch their budgets and reduce money-related stress. Once enrolled in the program, people receive money every month on a discreet card that looks and works exactly like a debit card.

More than 600 retailers and nearly 40 farmers' markets across the state accept 3SquaresVT. For information or application assistance: visit, call 211, or text VFBSNAP to 855-11.

• WIC: Healthy food and support for you if you are pregnant or a parent or caregiver for a child under the age of 5. Call 211 or text VTWIC to 855-11.

• If you are age 60 or older, call 800-642-5119 to get personal assistance with 3SquaresVT, getting meals delivered free to you at home, and more.

• Call 211 or visit the USDA Meal Finder at to find their nearest location for meals for children 18 and under.

• The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), a federal nutrition program, offers free monthly nutrition information and nutritious foods to income-eligible older adults. Learn more at

If you are hungry in Windham County

Resources in Windham County include:

• Brigid's Kitchen, St. Michael's Church, 47 Walnut St., Brattleboro, 802-254-6800 or 802-558-6072 offers grab-and-go lunches and fruit/nuts on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.

• Loaves and Fishes, Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main St., Brattleboro, 802-254-4730. Grab-and-go lunches on Tuesdays and Fridays at noon.

• Vermont Foodbank's Veggie Van Go will be at Brattleboro Union High School on Fairground Rd., in the parking lot, on the first and third Monday of the month, from 10 to 11 a.m. Touchless pickup for those driving or walking. Call 211 for more information.

• Foodworks, the food shelf program of Groundworks Collaborative, offers curbside pickup Mondays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesdays, 1 to 6 p.m.; and the last Saturday of each month, from 9 a.m. to noon. Information:, 802-490-2412, or [email protected]

• Our Place Drop-In Center's food shelf is open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Our Place, at 4 Island St., Bellows Falls, serves free breakfast and lunch Mondays through Fridays. Due to COVID-19, the center currently packages meals and provides them through the window in the front of the building. Our Place also helps people navigate social services, such as applying for SNAP (food stamps), WIC, Commodity Supplemental Food Program, and Medicaid. Information: 802-463-2217.

• Guilford Food Pantry is open every Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Guilford Fairgrounds, 163 Fairground Rd. All are welcome to come and take home fresh produce, staples, meat, and products.

• Putney Food Shelf, Putney Community Center, 10 Christian Square, 802-387-8551, offers curbside pickup on Saturdays, 9 to 11 a.m. Information:

• Townshend Community Food Shelf, Townshend Congregational Church on the Common, 802-365-4348. Open Mondays, 6 to 7:30 p.m.

• Deerfield Valley Food Pantry has its food distribution on the third week of the month, Thursdays, from 1 to 3 p.m., and Saturdays, from 9 to 11 a.m. Delivery will be made directly to vehicles. For more information, call and leave a message at 802-464-0148.

• Jamaica-Wardsboro Community Food Shelf holiday distributions will take place on Nov. 22 and Dec. 20 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Methodist Church Vestry on Main Street, Wardsboro. Information: 802-896-6178.

• Vernon Advent Christian Church Bread of Life Food Pantry, 802-257-2341. Open on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Masks are required, along with social distancing. The food pantry is housed at the church, 4554 Fort Bridgman Rd., Vernon.

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