Vt. ranks 14th highest in nation for hunger

12/09/08 6:21PM By Ross Sneyd

(Host) With the holidays approaching, hunger relief programs want to help more families fill their cupboards.

Experts say more than one in 10 Vermonters run out of food each month or don't get enough food for a healthy lifestyle.

Nationally, Vermont ranks 14th highest in the nation for hunger.

Melinda Bussino sees the need at the Brattleboro Area Drop-In Center.

(Bussino) ``I have never seen the extent of hunger and homelessness that we are seeing right now. I started working in 1967 on anti-poverty programs in New Hampshire and we had people who were poor, people who were depending on the Department of Agriculture commodity foods. But this was even before food stamps. There was never the number of homeless people or the number of hungry people that we're seeing now.''

(Host) Bussino says demand for help jumped 26 percent in January from the year before.

Since October, the need has gone up an additional 17 percent. The Brattleboro Area Drop-In Center gave more than 900 baskets to the needy at Thanksgiving.

Bussino says there will be just as much demand for Christmas. But she says she has half the number of hams and turkeys that she had at Thanksgiving.

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