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Help Fill Funding Gaps by Leveraging SNAP


Originally in second edition of Strategies On Sequester (S.O.S.), accessible here.

As the demand for meals continues to grow and
resources continue to wane SNAP remains a
resourceful and effective way for Meals on Wheels
programs to feed more seniors. Formerly known as food
stamps, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program) makes an average of $1,428 per
year available to seniors to cover designated food and
meals as of 2012; however, those who are currently
registered only represent 35% of those eligible.

Helping qualified seniors register for SNAP can provide them with a source of income
that can be used to purchase groceries and prepared meals from our programs,
enabling us to serve more.


Program Spotlight: Meals on Wheels of Northampton County, Bethlehem, PA
Meals on Wheels of Northampton County Director of Client
Services, Monica McCandless, tells us that the two processes
needed to utilize SNAP registering your program with your state
and registering your clients to receive benefits can be tricky, but
are well worth the effort.
Her program has successfully added 23 new clients to its roster
using SNAP this year alone. Although some clients are hesitant to
take benefits, she advises that they are often more receptive when
they explain that using SNAP for food allows them to allocate the rest of their often
limited incomes to pay for medication and other expenses.
The Northampton program uses its case managers to refer qualifying client prospects
and then works with them closely to support their benefits approval process. Some of
the tools they have created are included as samples in the list on the next page.

Contact Meals On Wheels Association of America Chief Advocacy Officer Erika Kelly at
erika@mowaa.org or 571-339-1604 with any questions.










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Tips and Tools:

Follow these steps to utilize SNAP in your community:

Step 1: Contact Your State Administrator to find out their particular
requirements. Although SNAP is funded through the USDA, much of the
administration is done at the state level.

Contact Information for your state can be found here:
FNS Regional Office Contacts for Food Distribution Programs
SNAP Application and Local Office Locators
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program State Information & Hotline Numbers

Step 2: File for Eligibility through FNS Form 252-2. If you're a nonprofit, be
sure to have your IRS documents proving your tax-exempt status it could
possibly expedite the process of certifying you as a USDA vendor.

Step 3: Apply for a card reader device. Because SNAP benefits are paid out in
the form of payments to an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, your
program will need to apply for the device through your state administrator. In
many cases, this is provided by the state free of charge.

Get your team ready to go.

Step 4: Educate your staff and volunteers on SNAP outreach and the
program's rules and regulations for vendors so that they can help the seniors in
your community enroll. Additionally, be sure you're familiar with additional rules
for the elderly and disabled.

Sign up your clients who qualify.

Step 5: Seek out current or eligible clients who may not be taking advantage
of SNAP and ask them if they're interested in signing up. This presentation
contains a lot of helpful tips on working directly with your seniors, courtesy of
NCOA.

We thank the Northampton County program for offering the following resources as
samples that you can use in creating your own SNAP initiative:

Template letter that can be sent to clients to prepare them for the application
process.
Template letter that can be used to prepare clients to have your program gather the
necessary documents.
Template letter that can be used by the program to confirm the return of those
documents once the application is completed

Find additional SNAP resources at NCOA or AARP's SNAP Map.