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Carolina Nutrition Alliance

March 2007 - Southern Institute Releases Carolina Nutrition Alliance Final Report

The Southern Institute on Children and Families is pleased to release the Carolina Nutrition Alliance Final Report: Increasing Food Stamp Participation Through Faith Partnerships and Process Improvement. The report provides excellent information on how counties and states can increase Food Stamp Program participation using process improvement strategies and faith outreach collaboration. Please continue reading below to learn more about this initiative.

Background

Nationally, only 60% of eligible individuals are participating in the Food Stamp Program. That leaves about 40% of seniors and families with children that are not receiving assistance in meeting their basic food needs. As states struggle with food access solutions for their citizens in need of food assistance in order to meet basic needs, asking social service departments to do more with smaller annual budgets and fewer employees is not likely to be an effective strategy. Increasing Food Stamp Program enrollment with reduced resources is a challenge facing administering agencies across the nation. To add increased enrollment to an already stressed system conjures up an equation for inefficiency and error.

The Southern Institute on Children and Families applied for a grant with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to bridge the gap between the growing need for nutrition services for lower-income families in South Carolina and diminishing state administrative resources to serve them. In July 2004 the Southern Institute received a two-year grant to increase Food Stamp Program participation through the faith community while improving eligibility processes in three South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) County Offices. The Carolina Nutrition Alliance was formed creating a partnership comprised of the Southern Institute, Agape Ministries of Charleston, the South Carolina DSS and the USDA to achieve two goals:

Goal 1: Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the eligibility application and recertification process through process improvement in DSS offices in Beaufort, Charleston and Richland Counties; and

Goal 2: Increase Food Stamp Program participation by eligible, lower-income families and individuals in Beaufort and Charleston Counties through the Lowcountry Faith Participation Campaign and assess the potential role faith-based groups can play in reaching out to potentially eligible populations and assisting them in the application process. During the last five months of the grant the faith component of the project was extended to Spartanburg County.

The Carolina Nutrition Alliance concluded in December 2006. A final report was published by the Southern Institute, and it provides excellent information on how counties and states can increase Food Stamp Program participation using process improvement strategies and faith outreach collaboration. The Southern Institute encourages other states and local agencies to review the results of this project and consider the strategies implemented during the Carolina Nutrition Alliance project to improve workplace efficiency and expand outreach capabilities to enhance their own programs.

 

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