VT help line calls show recession’s toll

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A sharp rise in calls on Vermont’s 211 Help Line reflects the depth of the recession in the state.

The Times Argus newspaper says the number of calls has been increasing since late-summer of last year. It says 69 people called for assistance with food programs in July 2008, but that number was 91 in July of this year. The number of calls for food dipped in August to 51, but officials don’t expect that to start a trend.

The 211 line, run by United Ways of Vermont, connects people seeking help with services of all kinds.

Figures from state agencies also show sharp increases in food stamps, from 55,752 individuals in March 2008 to 73,035 the same month this year. Welfare and General Assistance rolls have also grown.

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