USDA AWARDS $5 MILLION IN FOOD STAMP PARTICIPATION GRANT
WASHINGTON, August 3, 2005 - Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced that six grants totaling $5 million have been awarded to help increase access to USDA's Food Stamp Program for low-income households.
"These grants are part of President Bush's efforts to help those who are eligible for benefits enroll in the Food Stamp Program," said Johanns. "Partnerships with state governments as well as faith and community-based organizations will help to give families access to needed nutrition assistance."
The grants, authorized by the 2002 Farm Bill, are designed to help simplify food stamp application and eligibility systems. The recipients are state agencies working in partnership with faith and community-based organizations. In Arizona for example, the Office of the Governor partnered with the Foundation for Senior Living, a faith-based organization. This joint effort, Project AzSECURE (Arizona Serving Eligible Customers and Utilizing Resources Efficiently) will integrate the Food Stamp Program application process with Medicare, including the Prescription Drug Benefit. Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Eric M. Bost presented the partnership with a check for $832,343 in Phoenix today.
"We are committed to simplifying access, while maintaining the integrity of the program," said Bost. "During the application process, we encouraged state agencies to partner with faith and community based organizations. These partnerships are crucial to ensuring that everyone who is eligible for food stamps knows about the program, where to apply and is treated with dignity and respect."
The other five grantees are the City of New York in partnership with the New York City Coalition Against Hunger ($945,000), Minnesota Department of Human Services ($911,900), Department of Human Services, State of Tennessee ($800,000), Maryland Department of Human Resources ($938,057) and the Michigan Department of Human Services, the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging and eight non profit organizations ($566,143). The six grantees were selected from more than 31 proposals submitted by states, nonprofit groups and other organizations. Additional information about each project is available online at www.fns.usda.gov/fns/grants.htm.
On January 29, 2001, the President created the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (WHOFBCI) along with offices in Federal Agencies. These offices work together to ensure that faith and community-based organizations have the opportunity to assist America's neediest families and individuals.
The Food Stamp Program, administered by the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, is the cornerstone of federal nutrition assistance programs and provides crucial support to working poor and needy households. The program serves more than 25 million people. For more information on the Food Stamp Program and USDA, visit http://www.usda.gov.