The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • SRS says food stamp program underutilized

  • The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services has announced new grant funding to conduct food assistance outreach across the state.

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  • The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services has announced new grant funding to conduct food assistance outreach across the state.

    Statistics from SRS indicate more than 30 percent of people who are eligible for food stamp benefits do not apply for them.

    In 2008, SRS had 2,030 people enrolled in the food stamp program in Harvey County.

    In 2007, 1,983 people from Harvey County were enrolled in the program.

    That is an estimated 68.1 percent of the people SRS thinks qualify for the program.

    Harvey County’s participation rate is slightly higher than the state average.

    Current estimates indicate 65 percent of Kansans who qualify for the Food Assistance Program participate and receive benefits, according to an SRS news release.

    The Food Assistance Outreach Pilot Grant aims to connect eligible consumers with monthly food assistance benefits. SRS will collaborate with local partners to increase participation of eligible households in the Food Assistance Program, in an effort to reduce the prevalence of hunger among Kansas households, a news release said.

    Funding of $150,000 will be provided in the form of grants, with the maximum grant award not to exceed $25,000. Grants will be awarded to provide a fair distribution of pilots across the state.

    Michelle Ponce, a SRS spokeswoman, said she did not know if any programs in Harvey County will be applying for the grant program, which was announced in June.

    Outreach programs should focus on direct services and innovative approaches that connect and guide consumers through the food assistance application process. SRS is seeking outreach plans for both rural and urban settings, as well as activities that target and engage families, elderly, or Hispanic populations.

    The Food Assistance Program helps low-income households supplement their food purchases, providing a safety net for hungry families, a news release said.

    “We want to ensure no Kansan has to go to bed hungry,” said SRS Secretary Don Jordan. “These outreach efforts are imperative to increase both awareness of the program and enrollment of eligible individuals and families at the local level.”

    Applications are due Aug. 1, and SRS will award the grants by Oct. 1. Additional information is available at www.srskansas.org or by contacting Susan Craig at susan.craig@srs.ks.gov.

    An individual can make up to $851 per month and still qualify for food stamps. A family of four can make up to $1,721 and qualify for benefits. Income eligibility varies, depending on family size.

    Likewise, the amount of assistance received is based on household size and amount of income after deductions.

    Food assistance program applications and more information about the food stamp program can be found online at www.srskansas.org.

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