The SNAP Application Hotline: A Reflection

The SNAP Application Hotline: A Reflection

by Katie Marvel, Communications Coordinator, Hunger Free Oklahoma

 

July 20, 2020

It comes as no surprise that the COVID-19 shutdown has affected Oklahomans economically in more ways than one. Local businesses have had to close their doors, thousands of workers have been laid off, and families, some for the first time, are struggling to pay for basic needs: rent, utilities, food.

Before the shutdown, Oklahoma already had one of the highest food insecurity rates in the nation at 15.1 percent. Feeding America, a nationwide hunger-relief organization, has projected that rate to increase to 20.1 percent in Oklahoma due to the pandemic.

An increase in food insecurity and a reduction in jobs leads to an increase in the number of people who qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, serves as the first line of defense against food insecurity. This is just one of the many reasons why Hunger Free Oklahoma launched the SNAP Application Hotline. The Hotline has trained SNAP Application Specialists ready to help families and individuals apply for SNAP benefits just by picking up the phone.

Since the Hotline’s launch in May, the SNAP Application Specialists have taken over 3,500 calls and have helped more than 2,400 Oklahomans apply for SNAP benefits over the phone. One of those SNAP Application Specialists is Eva.

Eva joined the SNAP Application Hotline team as a recent Northeastern State University graduate with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business and a minor in Linguistics.

Eva says working for the SNAP Hotline “…seemed like a good opportunity to be able to work from home and stay safe, help people, and be able to do something where I can help both English and Spanish speaking people.”

As a tri-lingual SNAP Application Specialist, Eva has helped over 70 English-speaking and Spanish-speaking Oklahomans apply for grocery assistance. (The SNAP Application Hotline also has SNAP Specialists who are able to assist Burmese-speaking and Zomi-speaking Oklahomans from Wednesday-Saturday 1:30PM to 8PM.)

I talked to a lady that tried to apply a couple of times [for SNAP] through her phone, and couldn’t do it. Both she and her husband had had an accident that led them to be on medical leave with no pay, and no way to support their family. She was so grateful to finally be able to get some help for her family in such a difficult time. It is just so rewarding to know that we are able to help someone take care of their children in a time of uncertainty. She said I was so nice to help her figure the application out and know that she has at least done something to get help for her kids.

Eva

SNAP Application Specialist

Hunger Free Oklahoma is grateful for Eva and the other SNAP Specialists for their work and dedication to helping families apply for the grocery assistance they need.

SNAP Application Specialists, like Eva, are ready to help those Oklahomans who may be choosing between keeping the lights on or buying groceries. If you or someone you know has had their income impacted by COVID-19, call the SNAP Application Hotline today.

SNAP Application Hotline: 1 (877) 760-0114
Monday-Friday, 8 AM-8 PM
Saturday, 9 AM – 5 PM
Burmese and Zomi application assistance: Wednesday-Friday 1:30 PM to 8 PM and Saturday 1 PM to 5 PM

For more information visit, HungerFreeOK.org/groceries

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