In these lean times, it's so important for struggling seniors and working families in our communities to know about every possible opportunity when it comes to nutrition assistance. Unfortunately, many of our neighbors in need aren’t always aware of some of their options. This is one of the reasons Second Harvest Heartland has launched the SNAP Outreach Program.
The SNAP Outreach Program is designed to work with organizations in the community to help inform clients about this valuable food resource that already exists. Formerly known as the Federal Food Stamp Program (or Food Support in Minnesota, and FoodShare in Wisconsin), the SNAP Outreach Program increases awareness about the availability of SNAP benefits, and provides enrollment assistance to eligible individuals and families.
In Minnesota and Wisconsin only 45% of eligible individuals take advantage of SNAP benefits, leaving a large portion of the resource unused. Our goal is to inform and educate our hunger relief partners, the general public, and government officials about the opportunity that is being left on the table when our hungry neighbors aren't accessing assistance available to them. More is needed to close the gap on Missing Meals, and better utilization of SNAP is a critical piece of the puzzle.
A team of six SNAP Outreach Specialists help provide information for distribution to clients, assist with SNAP screening and with SNAP applications including bilingual assistance, provide copies of necessary documents, help take the confusion out of the county application process and offer follow-up advocacy with county workers.
Applicants for Minnesota Food Support should be aware there is never a fee for applying for benefits, and to be on the lookout for ads on the internet falsely offering to help fill out applications. The goal of such scams is to collect personal information from potential Food Support recipients, including credit card information. The federal agency that manages the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program reports that there have recently been scams in which applicants are asked to provide cell phone numbers and are then automatically enrolled into an expensive service without warning. A “scam alert” provides regular updates about these illegal schemes.
To see when and where the SNAP Outreach Team will be in your area please visit the SNAP Calendar.
To contact a SNAP Outreach Specialist, please click on the following link for the county you reside in and then fill out the form. A SNAP Outreach Specialist will then contact you shortly.
For more information on the SNAP Outreach Program or for collateral materials contact Camille Cyprian at 651.209.7966. If you would like assistance with your application for benefits please contact Second Harvest Heartland at 651.209.7963 or toll free at 1.888.339.3663 ext 7963.