The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, is one of the most powerful tools for addressing hunger in our community. This federal program, administered by the state, gives each participant an average of $4.40 per person per day to buy groceries (and only groceries). The amount isn't large, but because it covers every day, the overall impact is huge-providing six times more food than Foodshare can offer.
But many people who are eligible do not apply for these benefits because the application process is so challenging--going to a Department of Social Services office, and filling out a 24-page form requiring all sorts of documentation.
Foodshare addresses this problem by training volunteers to go into communities and sitting down with people to help them fill out the forms, which Foodshare submits on their behalf. By making the process local and easy, more people are getting food through this program, letting us give our food to people who do not qualify for SNAP, but who still need food assistance (review the USDA's non-discrimination information).
Want to help other people apply for SNAP? Become a Volunteer >
Think you might qualify for SNAP benefits? Let us help >
Learn the truth about SNAP... Read More +
There are many myths and misunderstandings about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Here are some of them, together with the facts.
Myth: There is a huge amount of fraud in the SNAP program.
FACT:SNAP has one of the lowest rates of fraud of any government program, at about 1.4 percent, and most of that is on the part of store owners, not SNAP beneficiaries.
Myth: SNAP benefits promote dependency and make people lazy so they don't have to go out and get a job (or, as one news program would have it, SNAP recipients are all slacker surfer dudes living high on the hog, eating lobster and laughing at us tax payers).
FACT: The vast majority of people who get SNAP benefits only get them for a short time while they are looking for a job, or a better job. The upper cutoff for SNAP benefits is 185% of the poverty level, or $1,815 a month, pre-tax for a one-person household. The average SNAP benefit is $4.40 a day. If you think that removes the motivation to work, we suggest you take the SNAP Challenge and see if you still feel that way after a week.
Myth: SNAP is a bloated federal program that has grown to be far too large.
FACT: SNAP is designed to grow and shrink with need. As the economy goes up and down, the size of the SNAP program follows. Right now the program is large because the need is large, despite the recent drop in the unemployment rate. More people are working, but wages for those jobs are not keeping up with the cost of living. Half of the people we serve make too much money to qualify for SNAP, but not enough to actually live on.