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Promising Practices in Food Stamp Program Outreach

Promising Practices in Food Stamp Program Outreach

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Promising Practices in Food Stamp Program Outreach

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  1. Promising Practicesin Food Stamp Program Outreach • Committee Report • The List • Related Efforts • APHSA Survey • Promising Practices in Access

  2. Promising Practicesin Food Stamp Program Outreach FSOC Promising Practices Committee Bill Ayres, World Hunger Year Larry Goolsby, American Public Human Services Association Ellen Vollinger, Food Research and Action Center Katherine Gigliotti, National Council of State Legislatures Melissa Daigle, FNS Western Regional Office Gloria Bennett/ John Wiggins, FNS Southwest Regional Office Maria Lloyd, FNS Communications and Government Affairs Susan Sheets, Chair, Food Stamp Program Outreach Team

  3. Promising Practicesin Food Stamp Program Outreach FSOC Promising Practices Committee Purpose – • to collect and share promising practices; • address the gap in information sharing; • present promising practices on FSOC website.

  4. Promising Practicesin Food Stamp Program Outreach FSOC Promising Practices Committee Next Steps – • continue to collect promising practices; • address the gap in information sharing; • newsletter announcements • rolodex cards • present promising practices on FSOC website • identify key words for list search mechanism

  5. Promising Practicesin Food Stamp Program Outreach The List - generates ideas - provides resources - sparks enthusiasm for outreach - search capability: by State – on web in December by Category – need key words

  6. Promising Practicesin Food Stamp Program Outreach • Community Education • Partnership for Community Education • Outstationing • Outreach in Partnership with Retailers • Using Media • Informational Materials • Technology • Outreach in Partnership with Other Government Programs • Customer Service-Friendly Office Procedures • Outreach at Community Events • Outreach at Schools • Outreach for Specific Populations • One Stop Shopping • Utilizing Sensitive Approaches • Town Hall/Round Table/Task Force Approaches

  7. Promising Practicesin Food Stamp Program Outreach California – Orange County Social Services partners with the Community Action Partnership to provide Food Stamps in Four Hours. In this “relay team” operation, potentially eligible persons are identified at food distribution centers, pre-screened, offered bus transportation to a workshop location to receive assistance in completing applications, and then offered transportation to the Social Services Agency where the application process is completed. For more information, contact: Jerry Sanders, Commodity Supplemental Food Program Manager, Community Action Partnership of Orange County, 12640 Knott Street, Garden Grove, CA 92841 (714) 897-6670,

  8. Promising Practicesin Food Stamp Program Outreach California – From September 2004 to February 2005, The Community Food Bank of Fresno and FoodLink for Tulare County partnered with the Food and Nutrition Service Western Regional Office and the Congressional Hunger Center to build county food stamp outreach networks, deliver a media campaign, and seek program delivery practices that increase access. The Congressional Hunger Center assigned two Emerson National Hunger Fellows to the food banks for six months, during which time the Fellows developed two county food stamp access task forces that provided outreach training and resources to community partners and created partnerships with county social services agencies to deliver timely processing of outreach-generated applications. The Fellows designed and implemented a media campaign through transit advertisement and earned media spots in local and statewide newspapers and radio. They also arranged for proclamations to increase food stamp access and food security by county Boards of Supervisors and worked closely with county social services staff to test practices to increase access. The success of the work was marked by the development of commitment and common vision among all partners. For more information, contact: Brooke Wentworth, Special Projects Coordinator, FoodLink for Tulare County, 7427 W. Sunnyview, Visalia CA 93291,, 559-651-3663; Dayatra Latin, Programs and Services Manager, Community Food Bank of Fresno, 210 N. Thorne Avenue, Fresno CA 93706,, 559-237-3663.

  9. Do you need more food? Call 1-800-600-6494 to learn about the Quest Card. This material was funded in part by USDA Food Stamp Program. Basic Food is available to all regardless of race, color, sex, age, handicap, religion, or political belief. Promising Practicesin Food Stamp Program Outreach Washington – Old Town Christian Ministries in Bellingham, a contractor for the State’s Region 3 Basic Food (Food Stamp Program) Education and Outreach, says their car magnets are an excellent way to advertise the program while on the go. “When you drive over 100 miles in a day to do outreach, it makes sense to advertise while you go.” The magnets attach on the outside of the car doors and are priced at $50 for two. (See picture below) For more information, contact: Patti Clark, DSHS Basic Food Education and Outreach Program Manager, 360-725-4613,

  10. Promising Practicesin Food Stamp Program Outreach Indiana – A local Food Stamp Program worker at the Allen County office in Fort Wayne took the initiative to devise a way to make communicating with non-English speaking applicants much easier. He had basic interview questions translated into the five languages most commonly spoken in the area – Bosnian, French, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Burmese. The questions were then transferred to cue cards and secured by a key ring. Applicants can search for the language they understand. This has reduced frustration, reduced processing time, and served as a useful tool for workers to find the right translator when needed for an expedited application interview. For more information, contact: Karen Snodgrass, Division of Family and Children, 210 East Rudisill Blvd, Suite 100, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46806, 260-458-6301.

  11. Promising Practicesin Food Stamp Program Outreach Iowa – The Des Moines County office participated in Service Excellence training for all Income Maintenance and Support staff in 2004. As part of the training, staff participated in a poverty simulation that enlightened them about how customers feel when they need to apply for assistance. This training has been of value in increasing customer service and it is knowledge that can be passed on to other community agencies through presentations made as part of their outreach effort. The emphasis on customer service reportedly contributed to the 15.9 percent increase in Food Assistance (Food Stamp Program) caseloads during the same year. For this effort they received a Hunger Champions award in FY 2005. For more information, contact: Cathy Taylor, IM Administrator, Davenport Service Area, Iowa Department of Human Services, 563-326-8794.

  12. Promising Practicesin Food Stamp Program Outreach Kentucky – Boone, Grant, and Kenton Counties Family Support workers set up outreach booths at back-to-school events helping families fill out applications for Food Stamp Program benefits. They also participate on the advisory councils of the school-based Family Resource and Youth Service Centers, interacting with parents, school officials, and community representatives to meet the needs of children. Their experience demonstrates this is a good strategy to meet parents in a neutral setting and provide all with information about the Food Stamp Program. For this effort they received a Hunger Champions award in FY 2005. For more information, contact: Carol Leggett, Region 4 Manager for Family Resource and Youth, 859-525-6783

  13. Promising Practicesin Food Stamp Program Outreach Maine – The Portland, Bangor and Sanford DHHS Offices demonstrate a commitment to excellence in customer service by maintaining a policy of seeing clients within 20 minutes. Signs are posted that tell applicants/recipients to let the receptionist know if the time limit has passed but most clients are seen immediately. The Portland office has an average of 230 walk-ins daily, yet the 20-minute wait policy is maintained. Maine has one of the highest Food Stamp Program participation rates in the nation. This effort contributed to the Hunger Champions award they received in FY 2005. For more information, contact: Bethany Hamm, Supervisor, Bangor Office, 207-561-4318; Jeanne Mahoney, Supervisor, Sanford Office, 207-490-5405; Don Comeau, Program Administrator, Portland Office, 207-822-2072.

  14. Promising Practicesin Food Stamp Program Outreach New York – FoodChange developed a one-stop recipe book titled Quick! Delicious! Healthy Recipes on a Budget! demonstrating how Food Stamp Program benefits can help households improve their nutrition with food that is both affordable and healthy. Culturally accessible recipes are accompanied by nutritional composition and estimated cost per serving (based on seasonal produce prices at a local Bronx supermarket). Also included are food stamp eligibility and application guidelines, and information on Medicaid, WIC, Headstart, school meals, and advantages to buying local produce, buying tips, and the value of farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture shares. Cooking demonstrations and distribution of the book at New York City Pathmark grocery stores complement the success of FoodChange’s pre-screening operations at these sites. This work was funded by a Food Stamp Program Outreach Grant awarded in FY 2004. For more information, contact: Lee Davenport, Assistant Director, Food Access at FoodChange, 39 Broadway, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10006, (212) 894-8053,

  15. Promising Practicesin Food Stamp Program Outreach North Carolina – To encourage outreach, the Department of Health and Human Services designed and distributed a participation assessment worksheet to each local county Food Stamp Program office. The worksheet is used to identify potential barriers to access and participation as well as to note current activities and best practices for Food Stamp Program outreach. A website is also available to counties which provides county-specific information to identify underserved groups by demographic characteristics to enable them to focus new outreach efforts to targeted populations. For more information, contact: Jane Schwartz, Chief, Economic Services, Division of Social Services, 325 N. Salisbury Street, 2420 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699, 919-733-7831,

  16. Promising Practicesin Food Stamp Program Outreach Oklahoma – The Department of Human Services, in partnership with the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth and a coalition of other State agencies, developed the JOIN website questionnaire designed to determine appropriate government services and serve as a State-wide resource directory. This assists State Food Stamp Program agency staff in the search for appropriate help for clients. Go to For more information, contact: Jim Struby, Programs Administrator, OKDHS Family Support Services, P.O. Box 25352, Oklahoma City, OK 73125, 405-521-3078, or Richard Cook, Information Systems Planning Specialist, Oklahoma Commission on Children & Youth, 500 N. Broadway, Suite 300, Oklahoma City, OK 73102, 405-606-4920,

  17. Promising Practicesin Food Stamp Program Outreach Related Efforts • APHSA Survey, Larry Goolsby - Practices to Improve Access , Dale Walton