Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro's Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS) has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the National Council on Aging for its Senior SNAP Enrollment Initiative, which seeks to fight senior hunger by increasing the effectiveness of community-based organizations and agencies that help older adults enroll in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
A total of 15 grants were awarded throughout the country.
The DJFS proposal, which aims to increase senior SNAP enrollment while also providing low-income seniors with access to healthy, nutritious foods, involves hosting nine produce drops, in collaboration with the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank, Mature Services, the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, and Alpha Phi Alpha Homes, during the eighteen-month grant period. The produce drops will take place at various locations, with an emphasis on ZIP code areas deemed to be food deserts because they lack a full-service grocery store within a one-mile radius.
DJFS case workers will be present at each event to conduct outreach and make applying for SNAP as easy as possible by helping seniors to complete applications, gather the necessary documentation, obtain the maximum SNAP benefit for which they are eligible, and submit their applications to the agency.
All outreach events will be rigorously promoted online, in the media, and to community partners, area agencies, faith groups, senior service providers, and others.