Vermont’s hunger groups say the food-supply problem will persist long after the coronavirus pandemic, much as it did after the Great Recession.
Together with Vermont FEED leaders, the Northeast Organic Farming Association-Vermont and Hunger Free Vermont, Sayles wrote an open letter to lawmakers urging it to allocate a total of $38 million under the CARES Act to hunger aid. The letter calls for $18 million to be spent on existing hunger systems and another $20 million to increase the benefits available to 3SquaresVT by 15 percent through the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
“I have said the food response phase is another six months and therefore the recovery phase is going to be a minimum of one year, probably two years,” Sayles said.
Republican Gov. Phil Scott has sent the Legislature a proposal on how to allocate funds received by Vermont from the federal CARES Act , which was passed to address the economic damage caused by efforts to slow COVID-19 spread.
Sayles said he doesn’t know what lawmakers are going to do. Just that the Legislature is testifying right now and will probably continue to do so in the coming week.
“It’s such a dynamic situation. I feel if you asked the committee lawmakers they might probably tell you they do not know immediately”. Sayles also said.
He said he hopes the Legislature will allocate $500,000 to the Vermonters Feeding Vermonters programme. Which has been buying food from local farms for three years and delivering it to people in need. It’s similar to an effort by the U.S. Department of Agriculture called the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. That has seen teams of state agencies, the National Guard, Vermont farms, and businesses handing out food at state airports.
“The safest option for citizens to urge affordable assistance which will continue. Over the long period of this crisis is to research whether or not they are qualifying for 3 SquaresVT”. Sayles also said. “The best thanks to tackle hunger is to urge that EBT card. And to be ready to attend the grocery. And therefore the farmers’ market and obtain the food your family wants and needs.”