The annual Victory Against Hunger Awards were established by David Kantor, president of Victory Wholesale Group to recognize outstanding organizations in the United States that work to end hunger and improve nutrition and health at the local level. The 2009 theme for the awards was Feeding America’s Food Banks with Innovative Anti-Hunger Initiatives.
“We are so honored to be recognized alongside such amazing organizations that fight hunger every day in their own communities," said Cherie Jamason, president and CEO of the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. "The hunger epidemic is so far reaching that child nutrition and food stamp outreach programs have become important tools to help feed families and seniors. We are very proud that our food stamp outreach program has served as a pilot program for others across the nation.”
Food Bank of Northern Nevada SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps) outreach program began in 2004. After identifying barriers, primarily the required interview and the lengthy, complex application, the Food Bank requested a U.S Department of Agriculture waiver, which has become a demonstration project allowing the organization to conduct the interview, complete the entire application process and deliver the package to state welfare office.
This program has improved the acceptance rate of Food Bank SNAP clients’ applications to more than 80 percent. The Food Bank, in working with the state agency, was also able to help change the “categorical eligibility” option, which increases the permitted gross income of applicants to 200 percent of poverty and removes the asset test. This action decreases processing time for eligibility workers and considerably reduces the paperwork required of clients, speeding up the process for both parties. The Food Bank of Northern Nevada continues to work with the state to improve the process where possible. With the help of this program more than 3,500 households received benefits in 2008, with an average benefit of $200 per family.