CHESTER, Vt. – Two local organizations, Senior Solutions and the Chester-Andover Family Center, have come together to launch a campaign to ensure that 100% of the residents of those towns are both food and fuel secure as we enter the winter months. This is to be accomplished through an intense, community-based, collaborative effort designed to reach each household in the two towns with clear, concise information through trusted communication channels as to the availability of resources, and to assist them in participating, applying and obtaining these benefits.
The partnership has developed a logo to create local awareness for all activities in the campaign. During early December, every household will receive a letter briefly describing ongoing programs providing help with food and fuel resources available in the towns. Included in the letter will be a card listing the contact information of the organizations and services provided by each. This information will also be made available at town institutions, churches, and the Whiting Library.
Thom Simmons, outreach specialist for Senior Solutions, noted, “More than 60% of our local seniors who are eligible for food and fuel benefits do not participate in these programs. The Fuel Assistance program alone can provide up to $3,000 annually to help people with their fuel bills, and that’s a lot of money to be ‘leaving on the table’ during a Vermont winter. We want people to understand that participation in these programs helps strengthen local communities and their economies. More than $9 million is added to the Vermont economy each month through the 3SquaresVT program alone, and that doesn’t even include the multiplying effect of those dollars throughout the community.”
Thom will be holding open hours to answer any questions residents may have related to the 3SquaresVT food benefits and Fuel Assistance programs at the following locations:
- Friday, Dec. 3, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., at the Chester-Andover Family Center
- Wednesday, Dec. 8, from 4-6 p.m., at the Whiting Library in Chester
- Saturday, Dec. 11, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., at the Whiting Library in Chester
- Friday, Dec. 17, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., at the Chester-Andover Family Center
The timing of the campaign coincides with the change in hours at the CAFC, which offers nutritious food, affordable clothing and household goods, and provides financial assistance. Beginning in December, the Food Shelf will be open Thursdays from 1-4 p.m., and Fridays 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with fresh produce every Friday. The Thrift Shop will expand their hours to three days each week, opening Thursdays from 1-4 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The agencies can be contacted directly as follows: Chester-Andover Family Center at 802-875-3236 or email firstname.lastname@example.org; or Senior Solutions Help Line at 802-885-2669.