Arkansans Facing Hunger Can Learn about SNAP while Fighting the FluOct 4th, 2012 | By admin | Category: Community
To help address the ongoing issue of food insecurity for many seniors and families in Arkansas, the Department of Human Services (DHS) will be at flu clinics across the state this year educating people about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.
“Partnering with the Arkansas Department of Health at flu clinics is a great way to reach older Arkansans given their greater risk to contract the flu virus,” said Joni Jones, director of the DHS Division of County Operations. “Nationally, only one in three eligible seniors gets the food assistance for which they’re eligible.”
Jones said flu clinics also will provide the agency an opportunity to reach people in rural areas and families with young children who may be struggling to put food on the table.
Last year, more than 70,000 doses of flu vaccine were given during mass flu clinics in Arkansas, according to Arkansas Department of Health.
“We know the flu is just one potential obstacle families have to fight this fall to stay healthy,” said Health Department Spokesman Ed Barham. “We are happy to have the Department of Human Services at many of our flu clinics this year to help our clients fight hunger, too.”
At each flu clinic location, DHS eligibility specialists and other volunteers will be handing out informational materials, answering questions, and providing application assistance for SNAP in one of the agency’s Mobile Enrollment Units. For attendees in a hurry, workers will promote the online application portal Access Arkansas (access.arkansas.gov) as a resource that brings the county office to any Internet-connected computer, anytime day or night.
The Mobile Enrollment Units, which DHS received earlier this year, were paid for by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of an effort to increase SNAP outreach for families that face food insecurity. Earlier this month, USDA release a national report showing that Arkansas and Mississippi were tied for having the most food insecure citizens at 19.2 percent of the states’ population.
To see the availability of SNAP application assistance at your local flu clinic or to learn more about hosting SNAP outreach activities, please contact Lindsey Barnett, Program Manager for SNAP Outreach at 682-8288.
Two area cities where the SNAP unit will be, are:
10/26/2012 Searcy – White County Fairgrounds, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
11/9/2012 Lonoke — Lonoke Fitness Center, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(The flu clinic schedule is on Page 1).