SNAP allows low-income families to buy food, yet millions do not participate in the program. The Cities of Service SNAP Ambassadors Blueprint increases access to nutritious foods and participation in SNAP.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nation’s single most efficient and cost-effective tool in reducing hunger. The goal of the program is “to alleviate hunger and malnutrition … by increasing food purchasing power for all eligible households who apply for participation.” The program provides monthly benefits to eligible low-income families to purchase food. Despite SNAP’s powerful potential, millions of eligible people do not participate in the program.
The city chief executive's office identifies a full-time SNAP Ambassadors coordinator and convenes and engages key stakeholders. The city chief executive uses his or her position of authority to raise awareness of SNAP benefits and encourage participation in the initiative. Volunteers support SNAP Ambassadors by raising awareness, providing outreach, supporting applicants as they apply for SNAP benefits, and collecting data. The mayor's office tracks and reports on required program metrics and supports volunteers.
Executing the Plan
The SNAP Ambassadors Coordinator convenes stakeholders, designs the initiative, activates volunteers, and calibrates impact data. Volunteers can canvass, provide site support, and help collect data and site metrics. Anyone can volunteer to do basic SNAP outreach, such as handing out flyers or making phone calls. More advanced outreach requires training, access to technology, collaboration with host locations, and a background check.
Collecting substantive data is essential to assess and demonstrate the impact of SNAP Ambassadors in your city. Ensure that responsibility for data collection is clear: while the SNAP Ambassadors Coordinator is ultimately responsible for reporting on impact metrics, he/she may not necessarily be the best person to collect the data. It’s important to identify who is responsible for
collecting and organizing the data.