D.C. Hunger Solutions Brings Food Assistance Outreach to Low-Income D.C. Residents as they File their Taxes
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CONTACT: Kirsten Bokenkamp
PHONE: 202-986-2200 x3974; EMAIL: email@example.com
Washington, D.C. – March 15, 2013 – For the sixth year in a row, D.C. Hunger Solutions has partnered with the D.C. Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) campaign, Community Tax Aid, and Capital Area Asset Builders to connect low-income families who benefit from free tax assistance to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called food stamps).
Thousands of low-income D.C. residents visit a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site each year to have their taxes prepared free of charge. Many of these households are eligible for the EITC – a refundable tax credit that is a huge help to low-wage earners with children – and may also be eligible for SNAP.
“SNAP participation in D.C. is especially low among low-income workers,” said Alex Ashbrook, Director of D.C. Hunger Solutions. “Conducting food assistance outreach at VITA sites is a great way to reach families that are struggling to get by but may not know they are eligible for nutrition programs like SNAP.”
As residents are waiting to have their taxes prepared, D.C. Hunger Solutions’ trained outreach volunteers provide information about SNAP, screen people for eligibility, and assist those eligible with a SNAP application right on-site.
D.C. Hunger Solutions recruited 40 people who volunteer at least once a week at one of five VITA sites in D.C. So far this year – halfway through tax season – volunteers have already contributed over 240 hours to distribute more than 672 materials on food resources, have prescreened 539 people for SNAP, and have assisted 91 people complete a SNAP application. During last year’s tax season, volunteers prescreened 1,213 people for SNAP and assisted 255 people with applications.
A recent report released by the Food Research and Action Center found that 15 percent of households in Washington D.C. reported in 2012 inability to afford enough food. According to the USDA, in 2010 SNAP only reached an estimated 43 percent of the District’s eligible working poor population.