Vermont 2-1-1 Monthly Update

Vermont 2-1-1

You Are Invited!

Come celebrate the grand opening of United Ways of Vermont Offices and the new Vermont 2-1-1 Contact Center on Wednesday, June 17th 2015 from 2:11pm-6:11pm at 64 Pearl Street, Essex Junction, VT. Tours and informational sessions will be provided on the half hour. RSVP to by June 15th. Hope to see you there!

Vermont 2-1-1

Monthly Call

Volume Report

A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl

May’s call volume of 2,488 continues to reflect the quieter emergency cold weather shelter and utility assistance for home heating call pattern that the warmer days of our summer months here in Vermont allow. The average number of calls dropped in May to 80 a day, compared to the high of 112 in February; an excellent illustration of just how challenging Vermont winters are for many residents.

While the emergency shelter and heating assistance call pattern historically changes with the start of warmer weather, the need for food and transportation has remained steady and even increased in some counties. An average of 70 calls a month for food resources were received in the first five months of the year and requests for transportation resources averaged 54 a month during that same time period. These two very basic needs remain a constant in the lives of many in our communities and for families with children the summer months can prove especially challenging as parents attempt to budget for child care costs, additional meals at home and transportation to and from summer programs.

Contributing to the increase in calls under Disaster Services in May was the last of the three Vermont Yankee exercises this year. In May, a graded exercise by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Committee (NRC), required that state and local responders demonstrate their capacity to respond to a major public safety incident at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. Vermont 2-1-1 serves as the Public Inquiry Line for the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Our participation in exercises and drills prepare staff and volunteers for live responses in the future.

Remember! We are hoping to see you at our Open House on June 17th! Tour the new Contact Center and learn more about our statewide service, our longstanding partnerships and our newest initiatives!

View Vermont 2-1-1’s monthly call volume report here.

Fewer Housing Calls as Warm Weather Arrives

Through a partnership with the State of Vermont’s Economic Services Division, Vermont 2-1-1 administers the After Hours Emergency Housing Program beginning at 4:30pm weekdays, throughout weekends and on state/federal holidays. Housing in Vermont has reached a critical need.

May’s Emergency Housing Report shows a continued slowing trend as summer approaches. Housing Specialists fielded 136 requests for Emergency Housing and authorized 60 requests during the month of May. Learn more by reading this month’s Emergency Housing Report here.

Summer Food Resources

Vermont 2-1-1 Resource Specialists are in the field learning about community resources all the time. Check out this resource corner to learn about the latest updates, timely information and stories from the field.

School is out soon and local gardens are already producing!  Vermont has an abundance of farmers’ markets and the variety of fresh produce continues to grow each year.  This year over 40 farmers’ markets are able to accept 3SquaresVT food benefits on EBT cards. An added 3SquaresVT benefit is the “Crop Cash” coupon program that can help to stretch the food budget and increase access to healthy food choices, while supporting our local farmers.  If you spend $10 from the EBT card at a farmers’ market for fresh fruits or vegetables, you get an additional $10 in coupons to purchase more!

Summer fun in the sun means that growing kids’ appetites are strong and there are a host of free summer meal programs available statewide for children under 18 years old. By the end of June, updated summer meal program locations, times and registration information will be posted on Hunger Free Vermont’s website. 

Vermont parents can also make use of  the University of Vermont Extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) that encourages Vermonters to make healthy, affordable food choices through fun hands-on nutrition education program that includes growing and storing fresh food. The Extension programs serve income eligible parents, caregivers and expecting mothers, as well as children and teens. Learn more about the program here

Remember to dial 2-1-1 and speak with our Information and Referral Specialists to learn more about additional summer food resources.

Meet Noreen Karcher: Harpoon Point to Point Rider

Vermont 2-1-1 staff are involved in their communities in various ways. Read about how Vermont 2-1-1 Resource Specialist and avid biker, Noreen Karcher, connects with her community to fight hunger.

Noreen Karcher moved from Kentucky, where she was very involved in her community food shelf, back to Vermont last summer.  “Whether it’s fighting hunger in Kentucky or Vermont, we can come together as a community to take action.”

Harpoon Point to Point Rider Noreen KarcherShe’s also become an avid biker in the last few years, so she’s excited to ride in the Harpoon Point to Point, a charity cycling event presented by Harpoon Brewery and National Life, to benefit the Vermont Foodbank.

“I had just got back to Vermont last July and really wanted to do the ride in August but we were still trying to figure out where we were going to live and timing wasn’t right.  So I knew I was going to do it this year and was watching for it.”

Riders can select from 25, 50 or 100 mile bike rides, all of which loop back to the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, Vermont.   Riders have raised nearly a million dollars since the event was started in 2002.

“When I worked for the United Way on their annual campaign in 2004, I learned so much about how we, as a community, can collectively make a difference.  Hunger is such a huge problem and it may seem like, how can I possibly make a difference,” Noreen asks.

But Karcher and her husband, Steve, “believe everyone has the right to have their basic needs met, which includes having a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of a person and their family.  This should definitely include food. It’s so disheartening to think people in our state or anywhere you live are not having their basic needs met.   It costs so much to buy groceries, so people have to make decisions on what they buy to fill their families’ stomachs.  Our children should not be going to bed hungry.  Collectively we have to work together to spread hunger awareness, as donations of all sizes really do make a difference.”

Noreen has already met her fundraising goal, several months before the ride in August.  “My donors are family and close friends who know how important sharing hunger awareness is to me.”  She’s reached out to friends and family via Facebook and other means, making it clear that even a few dollars helps.

In addition to the cause, Noreen appreciates the ride and sharing a brew with fellow supporters.   Her favorite part of the ride? “Having Steve ride alongside me and knowing my partner feels the same way: that we can make a difference to help eradicate hunger in Vermont.   The after party was pretty great too!”

To learn more, visit Noreen’s Harpoon Point to Point webpage.

“It’s not a race, but a ride that everyone can participate in and be a big part of.  We are making a difference.”

We’d love to see you in August too!  Sign up to ride or volunteer today!


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