FoodShare Outreach Program
Too often, people who are at risk of hunger and eligible for FoodShare Wisconsin (food stamp) benefits don’t enroll. Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin's FoodShare Outreach Program helps ensure potentially eligible participants learn how to obtain benefits while meeting larger community needs by drawing down federal dollars into the local economy.
Launched in June 2009, Second Harvest Foodbank's FoodShare Outreach Program:
- Increases eligible families’ food budgets to access nutritious foods that accommodate personal tastes and cultural preferences.
- Assists emergency food providers struggling to keep up with the demand for food assistance.
- Serves as an immediate economic stimulus to businesses and farmers because within 30 days, 97 percent of FoodShare benefits are spent in local communities. And based on the U.S Department of Agriculture's estimate that every $5 of FoodShare benefits spent generates $9 in economic activity, the Foodbank's program has infused more than $5 million into our service area, creating an economic benefit of more than $9 million.
The FoodShare Outreach Program is promoted through a Second Harvest Foodbank volunteer-staffed, toll-free FoodShare Helpline (1-877-366-3635). Callers are screened for eligibility and encouraged to apply for FoodShare benefits if deemed potentially eligible. They are then referred to sites throughout the Foodbank’s 16-county service area to receive free one-on-one application assistance from one of our FoodShare Outreach Specialists. Between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013 the FoodShare Helpline helped more than 4800 callers; and our FoodShare Outreach Specialists assisted nearly 4000 people apply for FoodShare Wisconsin.