About 13% of Western Mass. residents are food insecure, a rate higher than any other food bank service area in the state.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as The Food Stamp Program) is an important resource for families to obtain healthy, affordable foods. Unfortunately, it is underutilized in Massachusetts and The Food Bank seeks to increase participation in this federal nutrition program. Click here to learn more about SNAP eligibility and what The Food Bank can do to help you get it.
The three core strategies we use to increase participation in SNAP throughout Western MA are: provide enrollment and application assistance; increase SNAP outreach and promotion; and build SNAP advocacy in Western Massachusetts.
Changes in federal and state requirements and procedures have resulted in skyrocketing participation that permits income eligible households—including many working families—to use the equivalent of an ATM card to buy food at a supermarket or grocery store. In the four counties of Western Massachusetts, 80,546 families and households received SNAP in November 2010. Over the course of this year, they will receive more than $200 million in federal benefits to put food on their table so that they can be productive citizens on the job, in the classroom and in the community. These federal dollars will translate to $419,857,816 in local economic impact over the course of a year. This money will be spent at local businesses, which in turn will sustain and create jobs that might otherwise vanish. Learn more about SNAP’s benefit to our local economy.