Food Stamp parties?

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GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116
Food Stamp parties?

Should we be spending $2-3 million to ENCOURAGE people to get on food stamps?

Forget Tupperware bashes and toga soirees -- the latest rage is food stamp parties.

The USDA is encouraging the nation's food stamp program to promote to the elderly using parties and games.

A series of guides currently posted on the USDA website promotes local offices of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- or SNAP, but commonly referred to as food stamps -- to entice eligible seniors to enroll in the welfare program. The promotional campaign has cost between $2.5 million and $3 million.

?Throw a Great Party. Host social events where people mix and mingle,? the pamphlet encourages in one of the guides. ?Make it fun by having activities, games, food, and entertainment, and provide information about SNAP. Putting SNAP information in a game format like BINGO, crossword puzzles, or even a ?true/false? quiz is fun and helps get your message across in a memorable way.?

The program, which provides food-buying help for low-income people, is a federal program under which benefits are distributed by states. While beneficiaries once received actual stamps, the benefits are now doled out via check cards.

The program has also funded paid radio ads in California, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio and the New York metro area. The ads work: The USDA began promoting food stamps with paid radio ads in 2004, under President George W. Bush, and food stamp participation increased 63 percent.

Some of the other guides listed as part of SNAP's community tip sheets include "Tips to get an Op-Ed Published" and "Event Planning for Senior Audiences."

"Every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates $9.20 in an additional community spending," the USDA states without elaborating. The department continues: ?If the national participation rate rose five percentage points, 1.9 million more low-income people would have an additional $1.3 billion in benefits per year to use to purchase healthy food and $2.5 billion total in new economic activity would be generated nationwide.?

Spending on the food stamps program has increased 100 percent since President Obama took office, and now one in seven Americans uses food stamps. In the 1970s, one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps, notes the Daily Caller. After the recession, the ratio is expected to hover around one out of every nine, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/06/28/food-stamp-programs-promoting-with-parties-games/?test=latestnews?test=latestnews#ixzz1zCweRF9j

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 274

They are promoting it to the low income elderly population. I think it is great. Many elderly people do not have someone to help them navigate what programs are available or they feel uneasy using social programs. Therefore, they do not always have money for healthy foods which can lead to many medical problems which cost WAY more than a food stamp program does.

I am for it.

boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
Posts: 1984

I don't have a problem promoting it to people who NEED it. So many elderly are too proud or unable to navigate social programs (I'm thinking of my grandmother....) I'd rather they have access to SNAP than go hungry or eat non-nutritious foods.

Joined: 06/04/07
Posts: 1368

I am for promoting to those who need it. And they don't limit the promotions to the elderly. There are many nonprofits who receive grant money to promote the program to everyone they see. What I am not for is how easy it's become in our state to receive the benefits. There is no longer an asset limit and once you're found eligible, as long as you stay under a specific dollar amount based on household size, you don't need to report additional income until your six month review. Plus, there are currently no penalties for quitting a job and no requirement to work with the workforce center.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 274

I'm fine with them promoting it to others as well...I was just specifically speaking to the article.

But I think seniors really need the help with it the most. They are often unaware of unable to pursue these things on their own.

SoCaliLover's picture
Joined: 12/07/06
Posts: 1591

Sounds like a great idea to get help to those in need. Elderly especially may have difficulty navigating the system to access aid (especially since a lot of things are online now) or may not be aware of the programs.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

It is very difficult to navigate the services available when you need them. This is a good idea to get the word out to people who need help but don't know how to get it.

When my friend's mom was in a nursing home, it was damn near impossible to get all the paperwork just right in applying for MediCal. It took almost a year before it was all said and done. The forms were confusing enough for her, I can only imagine how difficult it would be for her 82 YO father to have had to do it. If he was on his own, he would qualify for food stamps but not have the first clue how to get them.

Jenni Beth's picture
Joined: 03/03/11
Posts: 1407

"boilermaker" wrote:

I don't have a problem promoting it to people who NEED it. So many elderly are too proud or unable to navigate social programs (I'm thinking of my grandmother....) I'd rather they have access to SNAP than go hungry or eat non-nutritious foods.

This.

Joined: 06/04/07
Posts: 1368

The biggest thing we hear from elderly first applying or if they're reporting a change is that they don't want to be on the system either because they're too proud or that the program is meant for those that really need it (nevermind they're income is the same as or less than those they're thinking of). The majority of their generation is one where they were instilled to do for yourself or your family will provide and to not be considered a burden to society, which they view welfare to be. It can be very difficult to truly convince them that they are entitled to and deserve these benefits.

Ethanwinfield, there are people at the offices who are available to assist him in applying for services. If he has difficulty getting verifications, the counties are mandated to assist in getting the information. He can sign consent for releases for the agencies to get the needed information themselves. In our state, they have no longer than 60 days to take action on disability cases (nursing homes) and if they're not disabled, the time frames the applications need to be completed are much less. That is horrible customer service if they took a year to complete the application... they'd be due for their annual review at that point, yuck!

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

I think it's a waste of money. Most of the elderly that are going to use it know how to. Those who are too proud won't be affected by any kind of party. I've never met an elderly person who didn't have a strong opinion and a voice to ask for help when they needed it and I worked in two large nursing homes in two separate states a year a piece. In both Ohio and Louisiana the nursing homes had a social worker who not only helped the residents and their families with the paperwork, but in La. the social worker would help anyone who needed it off the street. (I think it's just because she was a sweetheart though).

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 274

"wlillie" wrote:

I think it's a waste of money. Most of the elderly that are going to use it know how to. Those who are too proud won't be affected by any kind of party. I've never met an elderly person who didn't have a strong opinion and a voice to ask for help when they needed it and I worked in two large nursing homes in two separate states a year a piece. In both Ohio and Louisiana the nursing homes had a social worker who not only helped the residents and their families with the paperwork, but in La. the social worker would help anyone who needed it off the street. (I think it's just because she was a sweetheart though).

Maybe it's a regional thing then. Many older folks around me feel that they don't either don't need it when they do or that it is a "shameful" thing when it isn't. I'm glad many of the older people you know wouldn't hesitate to ask but for many that I know and clearly that others know would be weary.