Six places you probably didn’t know are getting your tax dollars


By Jon Street | Vermont Watchdog

BURLINGTON, Vt. — We’re living in a “very ugly moment in American history.”

Just ask Vermont’s U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who continues to use “massive income inequality” to rail against cuts to food stamps.

“It is astounding to me, from a moral perspective, that folks in the Republican Party stay up nights figuring out how they can give more tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires and large corporations and then come back and try to cut food stamps for families who are hungry, for kids who are hungry, try to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. It is really a very ugly moment in American history,” Sanders said during an interview with MSNBC’s Rev. Al Sharpton last week.

Never mind the billions America already spends on food stamps for nearly 50 million people — about 20 percent of the population.

In fiscal 2013, Americans spent a cool $148,770,212 to provide Vermont’s hungry with some appealing meal options. In fact, Vermonters on food stamps have a variety of options — from African to Asian to organic to seafood to … well, you get the picture.

That’s right. Your tax dollars are paying for a few … shall we call them less than modest, grocery products for people in need. While you probably shop at the more affordable Price Chopper, Shaw’s, Walmart or Hannaford, here are six of the most gourmet and exotic places you probably didn’t know accept your hard-earned tax dollars — to feed those struggling to make ends meet.

1. Mahuwi African Market, Burlington: ”Jambo!” While you might expect to find this type of exotic cuisine at a high-end, downtown restaurant in Manhattan, look no farther than Burlington’s Winooski Avenue for these tasty kabobs.

2. Ray’s Seafood Market, Essex Junction: Nope. You’re not in coastal Maine. So throw those discounted Price Chopper TV meals overboard and savor a new wave of delicious.

3. Gagan Asian Grocery Store, South Burlington: Crab ran goons anyone? It doesn’t take a good fortune from a cookie to relish this gourmet goodness.

4. Natural Provisions, St. Johnsbury: No doubt organic foods are more healthy. They’re also more expensive. So go lean, gluten, free, or all-natural. Any one you choose, this modern organic market housed in a 19th century church-like building offers a fresh variety of healthier (and pricier) edibles.

5. Bimbo Bakeries, Williston – You might call them twice-baked food stamps. This mouth-watering bakery offers delicious name-brand products such as Sara Lee, Earth Grains, and OroWeat.

6. Thai Phat, Burlington: The Southeast Pacific comes to New England with this Thai fare market. From fresh fish to jasmine rice, it’s “as authentic as you will get (outside Thailand),” according to one Yelp review.

Contact Jon Street at and find him on Twitter @JonStreet.