Jesse Brown VA Medical Center’s new Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) partnership has yielded positive outcomes for Chicago-area Veterans and the surrounding community. Earlier this year, Jesse Brown VA’s Voluntary Service team began a partnership with the state of Illinois, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary and the federal SNAP program to give Veterans the opportunity to apply for SNAP benefits while attending the weekly Jesse Brown VA Veterans’ food pantry.
Since then, the partnership has netted a local economic impact of more than $240,000 — money that is being spent in the local community, helping create jobs and keeping businesses open. In addition, the program has provided nearly 55,000 meals since its inception. Every week, between 150 and 200 Veterans shop for groceries at the pantry.
Of those Veterans who signed up for SNAP at the Jesse Brown VAMC, many said that they either didn’t think they qualified, didn’t know about the program or had no way to get in to apply. Staff at the medical center believe the program is a real “feel good” for everyone and because of its success so far, the program will be continued for another year.
Volunteers play a key role in the program’s success. One volunteer, Theresa Rausch of the VFW Auxiliary, runs the table sign up table every Tuesday and assists Veterans through the application process. Special thanks also goes to participating Veterans — not only for their service, but also for telling their fellow Veterans to come in and take part in the program.
VA takes its commitment to care for the nation’s Veterans and their families very seriously, and this summer, we invite all of you to join in that commitment. Community by community, state by state, our nation can work together to serve Veterans during the VA Summer of Service.