Here we surveyed a cohort of Vermonters at three time points over the first year of the pandemic. The surveys were conducted in March/ April 2020, June 2020, and March/April 2021. The demographics of the 441 Vermonters who responded to all three surveys are comparable to average Vermont demographics on income, but the respondents were more likely to have a college degree and to identify as female. This brief explores how the use of food assistance programs varied within this population and changed over the course of the pandemic. Key findings include: 1. The number of Vermonters using food assistance programs grew by 86.7% between March 2020 and March 2021 from 24.8% to 46.4%. 2. Vermonters using food assistance programs were more likely to have lower incomes and education levels, to have children, or to have experienced job disruption during the pandemic than those that did not use food assistance programs. 3. BIPOC/Hispanic Vermonters were more likely to use community-based food assistance programs (compared with federal food assistance programs) than non-Hispanic white Vermonters. 4. Worries about the qualifications, logistics, and stigma involved in using food programs grew between May/June 2020 and March 2021. 5. Experiences and perceptions of food assistance program use vary significantly between individuals using federal programs, community programs, or a combination of the two. 6. There are significant demographic differences between groups of people using federal programs, community programs, or a combination of the two.
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Burke, Madeleine; McCarthy, Ashley C.; Belarmino, Emily H.; Bertmann, Farryl; and Niles, Meredith T., "Food Security and Assistance Programs in Vermont Before and During COVID-19" (2021). College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Faculty Publications. 187.