In Wisconsin, over 220,000 people age 65+ are eligible for FoodShare, which is Wisconsin’s SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), yet only about 40,000 of them are enrolled in the program.
Lack of program knowledge and eligibility guidelines, stigma and application confusion all conspire to keep seniors away from a benefit that could help them achieve greater food security.
Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, which has a long and established relationship with AARP Wisconsin, is piloting a senior-specific outreach effort designed to address these barriers to enrollment.
In support of these efforts, this summer AARP Wisconsin sent FoodShare information to AARP members in Second Harvest’s 16-county service territory.
From that single outreach effort, to-date, Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin fielded more than 900 calls from AARP Wisconsin members requesting SNAP/FoodShare information and assisted more than 575 households to connect with benefits.
Here a just a few of the members who are now enjoy greater food security:
- An out-of-work 60-year-old out man said the letter from AARP arrived just in time.
- A 55-year-old woman said she has only been able to find work at a fireworks store and makes only $8.50 per hour. She qualifies for at least $100 per month in FoodShare benefits to help put food on her table.
- An 81-year-old woman with $565 in medical bills per month said her only income is from Social Security.
- A 69-year-old caller said this is the first time she has ever heard of the program. She will receive $70-110/month in benefits.
- A 94-year-old woman said her husband just passed away and their savings is dwindling quickly.
This partnership and outreach is part of an on-going effort to address senior hunger in Wisconsin. Experienced in FoodShare outreach and application support, Second Harvest readily provided AARP Wisconsin with training, materials, tested messaging and in-person assistance as we developed our volunteer FoodShare Ambassador program in Marathon County. This service continues to grow, actively promoting FoodShare to seniors and providing application assistance.
If you or someone you know would like to apply for FoodShare benefits, click here or call 800-362-3002.