Help for the Hungry

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FoodShare Wisconsin is a statewide program that helps people with tight budgets buy what they need for good health.

But the Department of Human Services says about 50% of Eau Claire County residents who are eligible for the program aren’t taking advantage of it.

Recent statistics show 6.7% of the over 5 million people living in Wisconsin received FoodShare benefits in January. But Vicki Shawd, with the Department of Human Services, says that number is lower than in some other states.

"Currently, we serve approximately 6,000 citizens and about 2,600 households,” Shawd said.

But Shawd says more people could take advantage of the FoodShare program, but just don’t sign-up. That’s why she says the state is working to make the program easier to access.

"One of those initiatives is called "Access" and it's an online application that they can go out and apply for their benefits through the Internet.”

The site also lets you apply for other assistance programs at the same time.

Chair of Eau Claire County’s Human Services Board, Colleen Bates, says changes in qualification requirements are also opening more doors for those who are struggling.

“The working poor often feel that they can get along...they simply buy cheaper food, and with the cost of gas and fuel up, that's certainly a place where they're cutting their budget,” Bates said. “And we don't want that to happen."

Bates says if you think you might be eligible for the FoodShare Program, you should check it out, right away.

"This is a way to nourish your children better, to keep yourself healthier longer and really take advantage of a program that certainly should be available to everyone in this land of plenty."

To learn more about Wisconsin’s FoodShare program, or to see if you might be eligible to apply, click on “Featured Links” at the top of your screen.

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