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Vilsack announces nearly $5 million

to help low-income households

access healthy, nutritious food

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recently announced almost $5 million in grants for seven state agencies to simplify the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program application and eligibility systems and improve access to program benefits for America's low-income households. Formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, SNAP helps ensure that people have access to healthy and nutritious food; the program is currently serving 66 percent of all who are eligible to participate.

"The federal government plays an important role in combating food insecurity and hunger, but it is through special partnerships that we can reach people who are most in need of assistance," said Vilsack. "These grants will achieve our goal of increasing program access and participation among America's most vulnerable citizens."

This year's participation grants focus on modernizing and streamlining the application process and eligibility systems or measures to improve access by eligible households. One priority for this year's grants is to fund projects designed to improve the retention of eligible households at the point of recertification. A number of the projects are receiving funding that will support development or enhancement of on-line application systems that will facilitate both initial entry and retention of eligible households. The other priority area is to fund a partnership between a State agency and one or more private non-profit organizations. FNS continues to encourage relationships with private nonprofit organizations with strong community ties to enhance communication between the State agencies and the communities they serve.

SNAP is the cornerstone of the Nation's nutrition safety net. It is the largest of the USDA's 15 domestic nutrition assistance programs and provides crucial support and a vital supplement for low income households to buy the food they need for good health, and helps many make the transition to self-sufficiency. Public, private, non-profit, and faith and community-based organizations play an important role in ensuring that all eligible people know about SNAP and USDA's other nutrition assistance programs.



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