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That's the headline on a blog post by the Vermont Food Bank.

50%

 - Just as we head into winter.

 - While many families are still reeling from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irene.

We may have gotten most of our roads and bridges back in place, but that can't replace the jobs lost when businesses were washed away. It doesn't help the families whose homes are still gone. It doesn't feed our kids.

The Vermont Foodbank and its network of 270 food shelves, meal sites, shelters, senior centers and after-school programs are experiencing record demand for our services.  Thousands of families are finding it harder to make ends meet, struggling with only one wage earner or reduced hours and wages.  And as the need for food assistance dramatically increases, the charitable food system is working with fewer and fewer resources.

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is an income-based federal program that provides food at no cost to low-income Americans in need of short-term hunger relief through organizations like the Vermont Foodbank.  During FY 2012, the Foodbank saw a 50% reduction in its allotment of TEFAP food; that is over one million pounds of food.

TEAP is one of those social programs the republicans love to cut. After all, it benefits the working poor and their "moocher" children.

At the very time when food prices have skyrocketed. At the very time when heating season is about to hit - with record high fuel prices. At the very time it is needed most, the funding is cut, leaving children and their families hungry.  If you've ever been in the situation of having to decide to not eat for a couple of days so you can make sure there's enough food for your kids, you know just how evil these cuts are. If you've ever had to explain to your children that the dinner they had at the local free church supper is all they get today, you know.

I don't generally post to ask for money, but the situation in Vermont is becoming dire. If the proposed cuts to food assistance (SNAP) are passed, it's going to get much, much worse.

“This lack of food is having a ripple effect,” said John Sayles, Vermont Foodbank CEO.  “Many of our partners are struggling to keep food on their shelves while providing for those in need walking through their doors.  And while grocers, food manufacturers and financial donors have been generous, the Foodbank still struggles to fill the void of the 1.2 million pounds of food that we were counting on.”
Short by 1.2 million pounds of food. Think of how much hunger that would represent if we weren't still recovering in the aftermath of the most destructive hurricane in nearly 100 years.  Think of how much hunger that would represent if SNAP benefits weren't also on the chopping block. Think of all the families who will sacrifice heat for food.

Please help by donating to the Vermont Food Bank. A donation of $25 = 150 meals. Even the smallest donation can fill the void for a child for a day.

Donate, because no child deserves to go to bed hungry.

Heating Assistance


Update: Harris Boothroyd III also suggested emergency heating funds. I know the state program takes about 6 weeks to get into, and then funds dry up rapidly. There are two non-profit groups that try to fill the gap after assistance money runs out:
WARMTH
The WARMTH Support Program uses funds donated by concerned Vermonters to help low-income families pay their energy costs. All contributions go directly to fuel suppliers; administrative costs are funded by participating fuel dealers and utilities. WARMTH funds are available when a household has exhausted its supply of fuel or faces disconnection of utility services. Funds are only available when an individual has not been able to find sufficient help through other channels. Application can be made at any of Vermont's five community action agencies.
Central Vermont Community Action Council, Inc. 802-479-1053
Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, Inc. 802-862-2771
North East Kingdom Community Action 802-334-7316
Southeastern Vermont Community Action, Inc. 802-463-9951
Vermont Community Action Directors Association 802-775-0878
1-800-287-7971

The Shareheat Fund
The Fund helps less fortunate customers pay their winter energy bills. Recipients must have exhausted other fuel assistance funds before receiving help from Shareheat. Donations are distributed to community action agencies operating within the CVPS service territory, which in turn, provide the funds on a case-by-case basis to those in need.
Contact: Community Action Agencies
www.cvps.com/Community/Shareheat.aspx

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