The ethos of food assistance

Food stamps are now called SNAP and are distributed electronically, not in the booklet form pictured above.

Gina Wilson stretched up on tip-toes to hang her coat on her office door. With a little hop, she managed to secure her coat on the inconveniently high hook and then turned around with a laugh.

“I’ve been meaning to do something about that,” she said. “Or else do my best to grow.”

Gina has worked on hunger issues since ’85 and it’s hard to imagine she’s lost any spunk in those 28 years.

On her office wall hangs a huge map with tiny FoodShare cards and shiny birthday cake confetti strategically ticky-tacked into place to help her keep track of outreach and food collection efforts. The map covers the 16 counties that are Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin’s territory; Gina is their director of agency programs and services. She and Michelle Kramer, Second Harvest’s FoodShare outreach manager, sat down to chat with me about promoting and administering food assistance programs last week.

“There’s a lot of shame about asking for food. Lots and lots of shame attached to it,” Gina said. Continue reading

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