SOUTH BURLINGTON - Vermont's leading anti-hunger advocacy organization, the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger, launched its new name recently as Hunger Free Vermont.
Since 1993 the organization's outreach and advocacy have significantly enhanced Vermont's nutrition safety net and broadened access to healthy food for Vermont's children and families.
"While we will continue to focus on feeding Vermont's kids, we wanted our name to also reflect our work and commitment to the nutrition needs of Vermont's adults and seniors," said Marissa Parisi, executive director of Hunger Free Vermont.
Hunger Free Vermont works to advocate for policy that expands and improves meal programs in school, afterschool and summer programs, and in child care. Additionally, Hunger Free Vermont works to improve the 3S quares VT benefit (formerly Food Stamps) so that more Vermonters are eligible and that those that are eligible have the tools necessary to enroll. In order to improve the nutrition of all Vermonters, Hunger Free Vermont advocates for improved quality of the food in all meal programs, including incorporating fresh, local foods, as well as offers The Learning Kitchen program which teaches low-income youth and adults how to prepare healthy meals on a budget.
Vermont is ranked the ninth hungriest state in the nation with one in seven Vermonters of all ages living in food insecure households.
"The effects of hunger are devastating for vulnerable Vermonters," Parisi said. "The name Hunger Free Vermont reflects our work and vision as advocates and educators who believe in solving hunger not just for today, but for a lifetime."
For details on food assistance programs, visit www.vermontfoodhelp.com or call 2-1-1.
In Rutland County, there was a 31 percent increase in 3SquaresVT (formerly known as Food Stamps) participation over the past year, with a total of 10,335 residents in the program, according to Hunger Free Vermont.