On September 27th, No Kid Hungry offered its first webinar focusing on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) outreach and enrollment in schools. SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, provides monthly grocery benefits on a ‘debit-like’ card to purchase food at grocery stores, farmers markets, and online.
This webinar highlighted a great partnership between the San Diego Hunger Coalition, Sweetwater Union High School District, and SBCS (formerly South Bay Community Services), where all three partners worked together to enroll eligible students and families in SNAP.
Though this webinar focused on a California example, there is much opportunity to expand and improve SNAP access in Virginia.
Historically, No Kid Hungry Virginia has focused on school meals, specifically breakfast, afterschool, and summer programs. You might be wondering- why are we adding SNAP to the list?
First, SNAP is an incredibly effective program. Not only does SNAP help to alleviate hunger across the country, it generates economic growth and increases the chance of high school graduation for students. Thousands of children in Virginia rely on SNAP, and there’s many eligible but unenrolled students that could benefit from the program.
Second, there is a connection between SNAP and school meals access. When families participate in SNAP, children in the household are automatically eligible (or “directly certified”) for free meals. This means that families don’t have to worry about completing a school meals application at the beginning of the year, and they also gain access to discounted standardized testing and college applications.
Enrolling eligible children and families in SNAP is a win-win, helping families put food on the table and helping school food programs serve healthy and love-filled meals to their students, while reducing administrative burdens.
Get involved by checking out No Kid Hungry’s SNAP in Schools Outreach Toolkit HERE.