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Community Outreach Leaders Grant Now Open!

New grant opportunity from the Office of Food Justice provides funding to support community leadership, outreach, and education about government nutrition assistance programs

The federal government provides money to help people buy food, through programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – which used to be called “food stamps”). But a lot of people who qualify for SNAP are not enrolled. Even those who have SNAP often find that the funding is not enough to cover their monthly groceries. Other programs like the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) and Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) can help stretch funds and increase access to fresh and nutritious foods by doubling the value of SNAP when it’s used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. These programs are also not used much, even though they do not require any additional applications.

Low-income and eligible residents are not using these programs for a number of reasons. Many might not know about the programs or have the wrong information. Others might struggle with the application process or are afraid to apply because of their immigration status. Some may feel stigma or embarrassed to need this type of help.

HIP sign at farmers market
Sign explaining HIP posted at the Ashmont Farmers Market

When we get information from people we know, we are more likely to understand and trust it. Our partners remind us that this is true for education around government programs. Peer-to-peer assistance in informing and enrolling in government nutrition assistance programs can increase participation by increasing awareness of these programs, making the information clearer and application process more accessible, and reducing stigma around using these benefits.

Recognizing that residents’ immediate food access needs can be better met by using already existing government programs, the Mayor’s Office of Food Justice (OFJ) is accepting applications for funding to support community-led outreach and education about government nutrition assistance programs. The Community Outreach Leaders grant will support programs that train community leaders to help their peers and community members to (1) sign up for SNAP, (2) understand and use HIP, (3) understand and use Boston DUFB, and (4) participate in other food access programs, including the Boston Eats summer meal program. Grantees will also propose ways that outreach workers can help bridge the gap between improving a system and transforming it—this could include relevant training, participation in advocacy activities, or other creative ideas.

Organizations interested in the Community Outreach Leaders grant can apply for up to $30,000. Applications are due on March 27, and there is an information session on March 13, 2:00 - 3:00pm on Zoom. For more information and to apply, visit the grant webpage.

If you or someone you know would like to apply for SNAP, here is the application link. If you need help applying for SNAP or finding food, you can call the Project Bread Hotline: 1-800-645-8333


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