SNAP Outreach

NEW - SNAP grocery senior 2012

WHAT IS SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is one of the most effective and efficient ways to end hunger in our state. This federal program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, currently serves more than 405,000 Connecticut residents, with thousands more applying each month. This necessary benefit gives many individuals the chance to provide nutritious and healthy meals to their families, yet the program is still highly underutilized.Take the SNAP Challenge and learn what it's like to live on the average benefit of $4.15/day!

Think you might qualify for SNAP benefits? Let us help...

WHY SUPPORT SNAP?

Currently, over 30% of SNAP eligible households in Connecticut are not receiving benefits. If we can increase participation by just 5% the additional amount of food purchased in Connecticut would be more than what Foodshare can distribute in a whole year!

Not to mention, SNAP is also a great way to boost the local economy! Research shows that every $1.00 spent in SNAP benefits results in $1.73 worth of local economic activity. SNAP is federal money being spent in our own community.

INCREASING SNAP PARTICIPATION

Foodshare began a SNAP Outreach program in 2008 with a goal of increasing participation rates by helping those who qualify apply for the benefit. It all began with one full-time staff person and a small group of volunteers. Since that time, the program has grown to include 20 trained volunteers completing 40-70 hours of SNAP outreach every month in the form of pre-screening and application assistance.

Last year, Foodshare volunteers connected 934 households with SNAP, and provided phone referral services to hundreds more.  Over the next decade we hope to partner with other Statewide organizations to increase participation in Connecticut from 75% to 95%. A number that is already achieved by many other States.

DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY

Eligibility into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is determined by income. A family’s gross monthly income must be below 185% of the Federal Poverty Level in order to be found eligible for the program. Expenses such as rent and utilities are taken into consideration only after eligibility is determined. Expenses will help determine how much the applicant will receive.
 
After an applicant is accepted into the program, they receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card by mail. This card is credited monthly and can be used at the grocery store just like a debit card. However, limitations do exist to ensure the funds are being used appropriately – for example, tobacco and alcohol cannot be purchased with SNAP benefits, as well as hot, already-prepared foods. Learn more by reviewing our SNAP Fact Sheet.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

As the SNAP program grows, so do the number of outreach sites, which is why Foodshare is always looking to engage new volunteers. We offer training to ensure you are comfortable screening potential applicants and helping them through the application process. Maybe you’re not comfortable working directly with clients….that’s OK. Ensuring that food security issues become important agenda items for political, business, and other community leaders is just as important. That means advocating on behalf of those in need by supporting federal nutrition programs to build a stronger and more effective safety net!

Are you affiliated with an organization that would make an ideal site for SNAP screening? In the past, Foodshare has partnered with grocery stores, social service agencies and faith groups to organize both temporary and permanent sites. Contact us to learn more about hosting a SNAP outreach site.