Feeding Wisconsin, in partnership with the National Council on Aging (NCOA), has joined a nationwide effort to fight senior hunger by dramatically increasing participation by eligible seniors in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known in Wisconsin as FoodShare.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, over 9.8 million older adults across the country experienced food insecurity, meaning they lack consistent access to adequate, nutritious food. Today, those numbers are quickly rising. SNAP is the nation’s most effective and widest-reaching anti-hunger program. Research by Center for Budget and Policy Priorities shows that participation in SNAP reduces food insecurity overall by 30%, yet the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that only 48% of eligible older adults aged 60+ participate in the program.
“We’ve heard from older adults and our local partners that accessing and paying for food is a critical need right now,” said Josh Hodges, NCOA Chief Customer Officer. “Food, on average, is the second highest household expenditure for people aged 60+, and too often they have to stretch their food budget in order to make ends meet. That’s where SNAP can help.”
Feeding Wisconsin is one of 40 community organizations around the country that is stepping up its efforts to assist older adults in applying for SNAP. Feeding Wisconsin will screen and provide application assistance to older adults with limited income for SNAP eligibility. The initiative aims to help at least 40,000 older adults enroll.
“We’re honored to be part of a Senior FoodShare Enrollment Initiative that has the potential to help tens of thousands of older adults improve their health and financial security,” De’Kendrea Stamps, FoodShare Outreach Program Director. “Feeding Wisconsin has a strong history of helping Wisconsin’s aging population navigate pathways to food security. We’re confident that increasing SNAP enrollment with targeted outreach strategies and other proven outreach methods will have a profound effect on the lives of older adults in Wisconsin.”
For more information, visit www.ncoa.org/SeniorHunger.