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.
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.