Feeding Wisconsin Supports Wisconsinites in Accessing FoodShare Benefits
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that life is full of uncertainty. At the onset, what seemed to be a short-term inconvenience has become a new way of life that we must all work to navigate. As federal safety nets initially put in place to ease the transition are starting to disappear, we must now work to figure out how to best maneuver moving forward. Now more than ever is the perfect time for those needing assistance to seek it. What might have been seen as taboo months ago to speak about is necessary for ensuring that everyone who needs help can receive it. One program that serves as America’s first line of assistance is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as FoodShare in Wisconsin.
FoodShare, often referred to as food stamps, is a benefit that can help pay for groceries until Wisconsinites can recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. FoodShare benefits are loaded each month onto a debit-like card called a Quest Card in which participants can use at grocery stores, convenience stores, many Farmers’ Markets, and, most recently added, online at Walmart and Amazon. The amount you may be eligible to receive depends on your household size, income, and other factors. If you qualify, the minimum benefit is $16 per month, which is equivalent to $192 per year.
There are several ways to access benefits from where ever you are. If you have access to the internet, please visit the Wisconsin ACCESS website to determine eligibility and apply. If you are more comfortable speaking with someone over the phone, contact the Feeding Wisconsin FoodShare Helpline at 1-877-366-3635 Monday – Friday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. We can complete a quick and confidential screening, provide application assistance, and answer any questions. Our specialists assist with applications daily and can provide support throughout the process.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the need will increase. Food insecurity projections in Wisconsin show an increase from 8.9% to 13.9% in the upcoming months. Since the pandemic began, the Feeding Wisconsin network of six food banks has seen that 40% of those accessing our food panties are first-time visitors. Luckily, FoodShare is a guaranteed benefit, and everyone eligible will receive it. By working hand in hand, our food banks combine efforts to support direct food distribution and connecting Wisconsinites with FoodShare. The culmination of these strategies has proven to decrease food insecurity. Now is the time to connect to these resources and inform our neighbors that might need support during these difficult times.
About the Author:
De’Kendrea started as the FoodShare Outreach State Program Director in September 2019. She is responsible for managing the statewide network of outreach programs to increase access to the FoodShare program to reduce hunger and food insecurity and improve health in Wisconsin.