Why Should I Care? Currently, 36 million Americans participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly food stamps. SNAP helps low-income people and families buy the food they need for good health. You apply for benefits by completing a State application form. Benefits are provided on an electronic card. Thousands of families, seniors and individuals that are qualified do not apply for SNAP. As a result, their families must make difficult choices between food, medicine, rent and utilities. These families often rely on food banks, pantries and soup kitchens for food, which does not sustain the family beyond a few days ration of food.
What Can I Do? Enroll eligible low-income community members in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Wherever low income families or individuals may gather - religious organizations, community centers, schools, or food banks - there is an opportunity to help them enroll in SNAP. Volunteer to screen people for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, talk to families about other nutrition assistance programs such as School Meals, and the Summer Food Service Program, and help connect eligible families to a variety of federal benefits. http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/
Resources An Eligibility Pre-Screening Tool can be used to determine if you may be eligible to receive SNAP benefits. This Pre-Screening Tool is not an application for SNAP. An application for SNAP benefits must be made at your local SNAP Office. http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/
Community Partner Outreach Toolkit is full of great resources and how-to's. In it, you'll find the latest SNAP facts and figures as well as frequently asked questions and program talking points. Take advantage of our tips, templates, and promising practices to ensure you're making the most of your organization's outreach activities. Lastly, don't forget to check out our new cultural competency or disaster outreach materials. http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/
Impact of Volunteering Thousands more families can rest assured that they will have extra funds to help pay for food so their children will not have to be at risk for hunger throughout the month.
Success Stories The Ohio Benefit Bank is a web-enabled, counselor-assisted program being implemented by The Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks and used by faith-based and community groups and public agencies at sites across Ohio, in partnership with the Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Benefit Bank sites allow low and moderate-income Ohioans to file electronically their federal and state income tax returns. Simultaneously, they find out finding out their eligibility, and complete applications, for tax credits and benefits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, child care subsidies, home energy assistance and children's health care insurance. Volunteer Ohio Benefits Bank counselors devote their valuable time and energy assisting clients with various applications for benefits through the software program. These volunteers help Ohio's most vulnerable people acquire basic resources like food, health care, and financial support. Hands-on, one-on-one training is available to all volunteers. There are also AmeriCorps VISTA positions available for people interested in full-time volunteering.