Vermont Foodbank says people can help in small ways this holiday season among rising food insecurity
Food banks typically see an increase in visitors ahead of Thanksgiving. But for the Vermont Foodbank, that trend started several months ago.
The nonprofit distributed 44% more food in July than in June, according to CEO John Sayles. He says this summer's floods, inflation and COVID-19 have created more food insecurity among Vermonters.
Sayles expects to see a large number of people in need for some time.
“What we saw after the Great Recession in 2007 to 2008 — it took 10 years for the food insecurity rates to come down to the levels that they were prior to that. And, you know, I don't see any, any quick solutions here," Sayles says.
About 12% of the U.S. population experienced food insecurity in 2022, according to last year's USDA Household Food Security report. That's a 10% jump over 2021.
Sayles says there are three ways people can engage: donate, advocate and volunteer.
Sayles says that, as an organization, the Vermont Foodbank is facing the same challenges as people walking into grocery stores — like rising food costs — along with the rising number of people seeking assistance. Donations, especially this time of year, can help.
"At the food bank, we can make $1 go a lot farther than somebody going to the grocery store," Sayles says. "We get a lot of donated food, and we also purchase food but at the truckload, and so we can get a better deal. So I would always encourage people to donate money and to donate both to the food bank and to your local food shelf because we both need the assistance to make sure that the support keeps flowing."
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