In the week leading up to Thanksgiving, locals ate on the same budget allotted for food stamps as part of Hunger Free Vermont's tenth annual 3SquaresVT Challenge.
Challenge participants were asked to eat on the average budget provided via 3SquaresVT for a full week, one day, or one meal. For one person, that amounts to approximately $36 for the week, $5.14 for the day, and $1.71 for a meal.
3SquaresVT is the Vermont food assistance program equivalent to national program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.
According to a press release from Hunger Free Vt. regarding the challenge, "The purpose of the Challenge is not to emulate the reality of food insecurity for Vermonters—many of whom may rely on a variety of programs and resources to meet their families’ needs—but to instead draw attention to the experience of living on a strict food budget and how that may or may not change your daily life both physically and psychologically as a participant."
3SquaresVT provides over 70,000 Vermonters with monthly funds to use at grocery stores and farmers markets across the state.
To be eligible, residents must have a gross household income equal to or less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level. For a household of one person, if you make $1,926 per month or less you could be eligible for benefits.
According to the press release, 3SquaresVT is "proven to reduce hunger, lift people out of poverty, and leads to positive short and long-term health, education, and employment outcomes. By committing to eating on a limited food budget for one week, the Challenge is an opportunity to learn more about 3SquaresVT and gain a better understanding of how important the program is to Vermonters all across our state."
The week before Thanksgiving also marked National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week.