by Amanda Gokee, New Hampshire Bulletin
New Hampshire Hunger Solutions will receive around $250,000 to do outreach about nutrition assistance programs, as participation lags.
The funding comes from the government spending bill recently signed into law, which included $111 million for New Hampshire projects, according to an announcement by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. It will fund two outreach positions.
The state has lacked an outreach plan for the past five years, a gap that has been linked to low participation in the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. New Hampshire ranks lowest among its neighbors for participation in the program, according to analysis by the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute.
The state enrolls only half of those eligible for SNAP, said Laura Milliken, the executive director of N.H. Hunger Solutions. The organization will use the federal money to educate and advertise about SNAP, school meals, and a nutrition program for women, infants, and children called WIC, Milliken said in an email to the Bulletin.
“We’ll do this through our statewide and regional food access coalitions across the state, through education about the programs (who’s eligible and how to access), and through advertising about the programs in various ways,” Milliken said.
The state is now in the process of drafting an outreach plan, after the Legislature passed Senate Bill 404 last session requiring the state to do so. The new program is slated to go into effect this year. A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services said the outreach plan is currently in procurement, in an email to the Bulletin.
Vermont’s latest plan includes $1.6 million in spending on outreach, with half provided by a federal reimbursement to the state.
Once New Hampshire’s plan is approved by the federal government, the state can receive up to 50 percent of the cost of implementing it from the Food and Nutrition arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The state will choose a private contractor to raise the other half, Milliken said.
This story was written by Amanda Gokee, a reporter at the New Hampshire Bulletin, where this story first appeared.
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