Common things we hear on the Helpline

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“I wouldn’t want to take away from anyone else.”

“Someone else needs it more than I do.”

“$16 doesn’t seem like much. What could I buy with that?”

What do all of these statements have in common? These are some of the most common things that we hear on the FoodShare Helpline about the FoodShare program.

Part of our job on the Helpline is to give people the information they need to make the best, informed decision for themselves and their families. While we never seek to change anyone’s mind, we do try to educate and inform clients with the facts about the program. 

“I wouldn’t want to take away from anyone else.”

For the callers who say that they don't want to take away from anyone else, it's important to know that if you apply and qualify for benefits, you will get them. That's because FoodShare is a guaranteed program, which means that anyone who applies, qualifies and is approved based on strict eligibility requirements, is guaranteed to receive the amount of benefits they qualify for. That is to say, if 100 people were to apply for FoodShare today, and all of them were approved, they would all be able to receive it. No one is taking from anyone else. 

The program is structured this way because the law is written for the program to be a guarantee. Similar to other guaranteed Federal benefits like Social Security, FoodShare is funded by a small percentage of our tax dollars. 

“Someone else needs it more than I do.”

Some people may feel shame and embarrassment when applying for FoodShare. Many people are not used to having to ask for help and due to the negative stigma associated with “food stamps,” many people do not apply. This is unfortunate because the little bit of help that FoodShare offers can get them through a tough time. 

When confronted with their need for help, some people will say that there is someone else who is worse off and that that person need FoodShare more than they do. While this may be true, FoodShare is there as a bridge to help everybody across their time of need. 

Anybody can fall into a tough time and some of us may not have friends and family to help us through. That's why FoodShare exists - to ensure that anyone who needs help to buy basic food items can get the help they need.  

“$16 doesn’t seem like much. What could I buy with that?”

$16 is the minimum benefit anyone who qualifies for assistance can get. This is often true for our elderly friends and neighbors since they have a small monthly income from Social Security. 

While $16 benefit may not sound like a lot, for many older Wisconsinites living on fixed incomes it can be really helpful since their budgets typically stay the same but the cost of fresh and healthy food continues to increase year over year.

Additionally, the FoodShare benefit rolls over from month to month for up to a full year before the funds revert back to the Treasury. So, for some clients, hearing that they may be able to “save” the FoodShare benefit for a nice Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is something that gives them hope that they can provide something special for their families during the holidays. 


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