Nutritious Food Coalition

Joining forces to ensure Minnesotans in need get food

Who we are

The Nutritious Food Coalition is a public-private partnership to raise awareness and increase participation in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and provide guidance on means of better serving Minnesotans in need of healthy food. The coalition is comprised of more than 50 experts from a range of organizations.

The coalition meets quarterly to address food access issues, increase participation in SNAP, identify barriers and areas for expansion, and develop a coordinated outreach effort to ensure all Minnesotans who are eligible for the program have an opportunity to apply for it.

Coalition goals include:

  • • Identify barriers and means of increasing food access
  • • Provide guidance on ways to better serve Minnesotans in need of healthy food, particularly seniors
  • • Raise awareness about SNAP
  • • Educate people on eating nutritiously and cost effectively
  • • Increase participation in the SNAP program.
    The coalition will measure the success of these efforts by an increase in participation among program-eligible Minnesotans.
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    "More than 500,000 Minnesotans access food support benefits monthly," said Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, who was instrumental in launching the Nutritious Food Coalition in 2012.

    "Yet, many more, particularly seniors, are eligible for the program.The guidance, work and support of this coalition will encourage more Minnesotans to take advantage of SNAP so they can purchase the nutritious food they need to maintain healthy lifestyles."

    Outreach agencies share information about the nutrition benefits, explain program processes and assist with applications to help those eligible make informed decisions.

    Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon

    Statewide outreach includes:

  • • More than 20 agencies, which are Food and Nutrition Service grant recipients and are part of Minnesota’s formal state outreach plan.
  • • Staff recruitment of local partners to conduct outreach.
  • • Coordination among the Minnesota Department of Human Services and counties to provide the “infrastructure” for material updates, supplies, training and communications.
  • • Free nutrition education materials and classes (SNAP-Education) through the University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota Chippewa Tribe to help SNAP participants make good purchasing choices and stretch their food dollars.
  • Coalition Member profile

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    Sara Nelson-Pallmeyer, Director

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    Sara Nelson-Pallmeyer is the director of Minnesota FoodShare, a program of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches that coordinates the state’s largest annual food drive. Minnesota FoodShare works year-round to increase statewide awareness on issues of hunger, food and nutrition.

    We are most proud of: Combining charity with social justice in our work. The March Campaign, the statewide food and fund drive to benefit nearly 300 food shelves, offers all Minnesotans the opportunity to meet the immediate needs of people who are struggling to get food on their tables. Our advocacy and other program efforts work to restructure social realities in ways that lessen the need for charity.

    The best part of our job is: The partnership with food shelves and advocates, and others who are passionate about ending hunger.

    We are excited to be a part of the Nutritious Food Coalition because: It connects Minnesota FoodShare with others who are working to end hunger in our state. The coalition unites us around a common goal where, collectively, we can have a greater impact and ensure that all Minnesotans have access to healthy, affordable food.

    In the future we: Would like to expand our advocacy and program efforts to help food shelves and congregations to become advocates for positive change and to respond more directly to hunger in their own communities.

    What's New

    Senator Franken urges eligible Minnesotans to apply for food assistance

    Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) posted a Public Service Announcement reminding Minnesotans who struggle with hunger that help is available. In his video, SNAP Helping Children, Families [and] Seniors, Franken points out that “nearly one in two… that struggle with hunger is not enrolled in SNAP, even though they may qualify.” Franken’s message is posted on YouTube and the senator’s website. Detailed information about SNAP and eligibility requirements are available on the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ website.

    Governor proclaims January SNAP Outreach Month

    Gov. Mark Dayton has proclaimed January Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Outreach Month in Minnesota. A copy of the proclamation (PDF) is posted on the governor's website. According to the proclamation, 65 percent of all Minnesotans and 44 percent of seniors age 60 and older eligible for SNAP are enrolled in the program that helps people with low incomes access nutritious food. Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson shared the proclamation with the Minnesota Nutritious Food Coalition at its one-year anniversary meeting Tuesday, Jan. 8.

    Unemployed and underemployed Minnesotans now have a little more help purchasing healthy food

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture extended its timeline to allow able-bodied adults without dependents an exemption from work provisions until the end of the federal fiscal year, September 2013, enabling them to access food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The waiver was first made available to states in January 2009. Minnesota is one of 46 qualifying states or geographic areas receiving the waiver now. Able-bodied Minnesotans are encouraged to voluntarily use SNAP employment and training services until they can find sustainable work. More information on SNAP is available on the DHS website.

    How we're doing

    An electronic "Dashboard" helps Minnesotans know what they are getting from the programs they pay for, including the use of SNAP by eligible seniors.

    How to get help

    Help is available through the Minnesota Food Helpline at 1-888-711-1151.

    Publications

    A fact sheet, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps people with low incomes buy food, is available on the DHS website.


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