A large part of our work fighting hunger, improving health and strengthening communities is our state FoodShare Outreach program. The program started in 2015 and was funded in large part by a 2-year grant from The Walmart Foundation, and we are thrilled to announce that The Walmart Foundation renewed their partnership with Feeding Wisconsin to continue providing this service to our friends and neighbors living in every corner of our state.
FoodShare helps almost 700,000 of our friends and neighbors living below or near the poverty line with a small amount of grocery benefits that they can utilize to purchase the food they need to work, learn and build a better life.
In FY 17, our statewide FoodShare outreach program had over 8,000 client contacts helped with over 5,000 people with program “assists.” Based on state averages, this is equal to over 3 million meals that we were able to help connect to families, children and individuals!
Through this partnership with the Walmart Foundation, Feeding Wisconsin will be able to 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.
In addition, one goal of this grant is to train and engage additional partners in providing onsite application assistance, furthering the capacity of our program to reach those who are interested in more information and assistance applying.
For example, one of our current outreach partners is a homeless shelter. The director went through the FoodShare outreach and application assistance training and she shared how important it was for her to be able to provide this assistance.
She mentioned how difficult it can be for a client experiencing homelessness to navigate numerous community services and how helpful it was now to be able to not only ask a client if they have FoodShare benefits and refer to the food bank staff, but be able to provide them with application assistance right there on the spot, removing one more step in the process for clients to connect to resources to improve their lives. The ability to assist these clients directly has been powerful and has filled a great need in the services that they are able to provide.
If you are a partner who is interested in getting engaged in FoodShare outreach work, please reach out to Stephanie Dorfman, our FoodShare Outreach Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together, with you and with partners like the Walmart Foundation, we are Feeding Wisconsin.