Urban League set to host SNAP enrollment fair

Urban League set to host SNAP enrollment fair
March 03
00:00 2016
Photo by Tevin Stinson
Shirley Agee talks about how receiving SNAP bene-fits has added value to her lifestyle during a news conference held at City Hall on Tuesday, March 1. Winston-Salem Urban League President and CEO James Perry looks on.

By Tevin Stinson

The Chronicle

The Winston-Salem Urban League has partnered with the National Council on Aging (NCOA) to offer Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to seniors in the area who are in need.

NCOA is designed to help people ages 60 and over meet the challenges of aging. Through innovative community programs and services, online help and advocacy, NCOA partners with nonprofit organizations to improve the health and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020.

Urban League president and CEO James Perry said that in order to make a change in this community, something has to be done about poverty and hunger. Last year the non-profit organization decided they would make ending hunger a priority. That’s when the organization joined forces with NCOA to make sure at least 500 SNAP vouchers were made available for seniors and people with disabilities.

“We set it up to make sure those vouchers were available for residents throughout this community and the state,” Perry said.

During a news conference held in the City Hall Council Chamber, Perry and Mayor Allen Joines announced an upcoming enrollment fair designed to help seniors age 60 and up find out if they qualify for federal assistance with their grocery bill.

According to Perry, the funds for vouchers will no longer be available after next month.

“This program is going to sunset at the end of April and we still have vouchers available,” he continued. “We know there are seniors and people with disabilities in this community who are hungry and that is what this is all about, reaching out to those in need.”

Mayor Joines said after learning about the potential help that could be going away, he wanted to make as many residents aware as possible. Joines mentioned the Urban League’s efforts also fit well with the city’s plan to end poverty.

A number of seniors who have benefited from SNAP or food stamps spoke during the news conference as well. Shirley Agee said she learned about SNAP benefits shortly after enrolling in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) at the Urban League. Agee said the vouchers have added value to her lifestyle.

“Having this benefit has proven to be a great advantage to me by helping to obtain nutritious and healthy meals.”

Veteran Glen Avery, who served in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years, said although he receives a stipend through SCSEP, before finding out about the SNAP program, it was still difficult to support his daily needs and purchase nutritious foods.

“I was really happy to learn that I was eligible for SNAP,” said Avery. “I am now able to purchase more nutritious food which affects my overall health and quality of life.”

“I would encourage all seniors on limited income to enroll in SNAP.”

The SNAP/EBT Enrollment Fair will be on Friday, March 4 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Hanes Hosiery Recreation Center located at 500 Reynolds Boulevard. For more information on the fair and additional benefits offered during the even,t contact the Winston-Salem Urban League at 336-725-5614.

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