BURLINGTON,VT- Community Members and organizations came together on Monday February 10th to discuss challenges the homeless community is experiencing, when it comes to food.
Hunger Free Vermont works to end the injustice of hunger and malnutrition in Vermonters. As a part of their mission, they have local hunger councils that address food insecurity in their communities. On Monday, the Hunger Council of Chittenden County met to discuss the challenges of accessing food for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
According to the U.S Interagency of Homelessness, an estimated 1,089 people experience homelessness in Vermont and 128 of those are family households.
“We just view access to food as a human right. Many people who are homeless don’t have kitchens or don’t have any cooler space. So, their food needs are unique compared to lower income family who’s accessing the food shelves,” said agriculture and community outreach manager of the Vermont Food bank and member of Hunger Council of Chittenden County Andrea Solazzo.
The Hunger Council said they want to have a conversation on how to make sure people’s needs and nutrition needs are being met. They also want to discuss making sure that those experiencing homelessness are accessing food that they want to eat.
Steve Marshall is part of the homeless community. At the meeting he said meals that are offered around the community should be more nutritious. “Way, way, way too much pasta, bread, cookies, pastries,” said Marshall.
Throughout the meeting community organizations spoke about what can be done.
According to Feeding Chittenden, it does what it can to educate people on nutrition, but they would like to see more help from places like restaurants and grocery stores. Donations are always needed.
“The carbs are all around us. I mean sometimes we feel our place is just a dumping ground for local stores,” said Midhat Hadzic with Feeding Chittenden.
Travis Poulin with Chittenden Community Action says stability is key for those experiencing homelessness.
“I love that Feeding Chittenden is such a reliable location. The more stability that we can provide, the more reassurance that we could provide, the more reliably we could provide food,” said Poulin.
For more information on Hunger Free Vermont Councils, click here.