University of Wisconsin-Extension

Series: Food Security And Assistance In Wisconsin

About one in nine Wisconsin households faces food insecurity — a lack of reliable access to safe, affordable and culturally relevant food that supports an active, healthy lifestyle. Those who have trouble keeping their refrigerators and pantries stocked include people who are unemployed and others who are working but aren’t able to find enough hours or wages, as well as many who are children and senior citizens. A variety of safety nets — from public-assistance programs to non-profit and religious food banks — struggle to keep up with demand. Fluctuations in the broader economy add uncertainties for the needy, as do changing state and federal aid policies. At the same time, innovative projects seek to improve food security, including efforts to directly connect hungry Wisconsinites with fresh food through growers and farmers' markets.
Metcalfe Park Legacy Garden in Milwaukee has transformed several vacant lots into a vibrant place for community gatherings and education.
On a recent hot and sunny afternoon on the north side of Milwaukee, about half a dozen Young Farmers are hard at work in their garden.
The Trump administration has looked at reducing FoodShare benefits, suggesting that recipients could receive non-perishable food boxes instead of food stamps.
A state budget proposal would extend the requirement that people work 80 hours a month to receive food stamps to parents of school-aged children. It would also move forward with drug testing as a requirement for food stamp recipients.
Kevin Moore of Wisconsin Department of Health Services said 12,000 people enrolled in the FoodShare program entered the workforce as part of its employment and training program.
Milwaukee-based Hunger Task Force Director Sherri Tussler said 65 percent of people who participated in the FoodShare Employment and Training Program lost their food assistance and did not gain employment.
A rising number of "non-traditional" students and their struggle to pay for college-related expenses led the Associated Students of Madison to set up a food pantry. University of Wisconsin-Madison Ph.D. student Katharine Broton discussed research into food insecurity among college students.
One of the impacts of the January 2019 government shutdown was a change to when food stamp benefits were disbursed. David Lee of Feeding Wisconsin discussed how recipients may have to wait longer for their March benefits since February's were released early.
Certain Wisconsin's FoodShare recipients must participated in work and training programs to qualify for assistance. Dee Hall of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism discusses changes to the states requirements.
Changes to Wisconsin's public assistance laws include new work requirements for the state's FoodShare program. Feeding Wisconsin executive director David Lee discuss the implications of these new policies.