Many people in Wisconsin need help paying for groceries. In Wisconsin, one in eleven people faces hunger and many of the people who experience food insecurity are seniors. Economic constraints lead some seniors to eat less and skip meals. Food insecurity negatively impacts health and complicates seniors’ ability to maintain good health while aging. In Wisconsin, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as FoodShare, is poised to help senior who are struggling with hunger.
The FoodShare Outreach program at Feeding Wisconsin works in tandem with our six Feeding America-member food banks to fight hunger, improve health, and strengthen communities across the state. Thanks to a generous donation from the Walmart Foundation, we are deploying strategies to reduce stigma and raise awareness of our FoodShare Outreach program throughout the state and increase enrollment of seniors in the program. Also, we are developing a comprehensive promotional plan that will include a mix of print and digital media sources.
Feeding Wisconsin firmly believes that local issues require local solutions. There is no single solution that works for every community. It takes those who know and love their communities to work in collaboration to build long-lasting, trusting relationships with community partners, businesses, and citizens. Feeding Wisconsin seeks to assist in acting as a convener, supporter, and collaborator of local efforts. The goal of our enhanced outreach strategy is to build collaborative relationships with area organizations to provide clients assistance with learning more about FoodShare and applying if eligible.
Feeding Wisconsin has chosen to focus on outreach to seniors – particularly rural seniors - for several reasons. Among them include the lack of resources available, transportation barriers, and the effects isolation has on program awareness. Nearly one in four households live in rural communities, with one in ten receiving FoodShare benefits. Many of those households include one or more seniors.
Through a partnership with the Walmart Foundation and Feeding America, Feeding Wisconsin can continue providing statewide access to FoodShare benefits through its FoodShare Outreach program and FoodShare Helpline. The FoodShare Helpline assists people living in all counties of Wisconsin with accurate program information, connections to local resources, and high-quality application assistance.
One of our Outreach Specialists in western Wisconsin recently recounted an interaction with an older client in Monroe County. The client, Darrell, was a man of few words who was quiet and polite. He had been experiencing a lot of medical issues - to the point that, more often than not, Darrell was not able to get his prescribed medication. In addition, Darrell was experiencing higher expenses for rent, utilities and food. Darrell regularly visited the local food pantry and had been referred for SNAP, but he always thought he could take care of himself. After talking with our FoodShare Specialist, Darrell decided that it "wouldn’t hurt to apply.” With our Specialist’s help, Darrell went through the application process and it was determined that he was eligible for $178 of SNAP benefits per month. After learning of his eligibility, Darrell’s first thought was that he should have applied sooner. As Darrell saw it, the SNAP benefits will help him eat better and free up funds for the medicine that should help him regain some good health.
If you would like to learn more about Feeding Wisconsin’s FoodShare outreach program or if you’d like to partner in FoodShare outreach, please contact David Pluymers, Feeding Wisconsin’s FoodShare Outreach Program Director. For more information about FoodShare in Wisconsin, please visit Feeding Wisconsin’s GETAQUESTCARD.org website. Or, contact the FoodShare Helpline at 877-366-3635 to speak with a Specialist and get help applying for FoodShare.
Together with you and partners like the Walmart Foundation, we are Feeding Wisconsin through FoodShare outreach.