Philadelphia, PA, November 19, 2020 – Benefits Data Trust (BDT), a national nonprofit that helps people in need access public benefits, will help 35,000 households across the U.S. enroll in or retain enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) so families are better able to put food on the table during the holiday season and throughout the year. The generous $5,000,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation was initially scoped for two years, but due to the current public health and economic crisis, the timeframe was accelerated to 18 months to better respond to the significant increase in need.
Additionally, the Walmart Foundation grant will enable BDT to:
- Work with states to streamline nutrition benefits enrollment processes
- Partner with leading healthcare payers to improve individuals’ and families’ health and reduce healthcare costs through SNAP participation
- Test and disseminate findings on strategies to reach and serve populations experiencing disproportionate rates of food insecurity and newly eligible populations, supporting better diversity, equity, and inclusion of clients served
“Almost a quarter of Americans have been impacted by food insecurity during the pandemic. Thanks to the Walmart Foundation’s generous grant, we can help more of these families put food on their tables,” said Trooper Sanders, CEO of BDT. “Now that we’re experiencing an economic crisis due to COVID-19, people need help more than ever, and public benefits are a win-win for individuals and businesses: every $1 spent in SNAP generates an estimated $1.50 to $2 in economic activity at grocery stores and other community businesses.”
SNAP, which provides eligible individuals an average of $1,500 in food support per year, is underutilized, leaving millions of people hungry – and billions of dollars of food assistance unclaimed. Both SNAP and WIC help feed families and improve health and well-being while strengthening the economy in a time of recession.
Prior to receiving assistance from Benefits Data Trust, a 61-year-old client didn’t know she was eligible for benefits and often found herself facing the difficult task of prioritizing basic needs with her income of about $14,000 a year: “I was jeopardizing purchases, do I go to the doctor, do I buy groceries, or do I buy my prescriptions? I don’t have to make those decisions at all anymore.”
Even before the current economic crisis, more than $60 billion was left on the table annually in public benefits, including nutrition programs. Multiple barriers make it challenging to access these federal assistance programs: many people do not know they are eligible or are concerned that they would be taking help away from others; the applications can be complicated; and verifications may be difficult to obtain. Barriers have been compounded since the pandemic began, as many assistance offices had to close while more people found themselves in need of help -- many for the first time.
“We’re thrilled to support BDT and its innovative approach to connecting people with critical benefits,” said Eileen Hyde, director of sustainable food systems and food access for Walmart.org. “Many families and communities are under enormous pressure right now because of the pandemic, and BDT’s technology and human-centered approach working alongside state agencies is helping connect people with essential services during such a challenging time.”
Since 2014 BDT has enrolled more than 49,000 households in SNAP benefits valued at a cumulative $230 million, helped agencies streamline access to federal nutrition assistance, and successfully engaged healthcare in improving access to benefits.
BDT provides enrollment assistance to individuals in Pennsylvania, New York City, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Colorado, and policy technical assistance to states nationwide.
Those in need should visit bdtrust.org for more information.
About Benefits Data Trust
Benefits Data Trust (BDT) is a national nonprofit that helps people live healthier, more independent lives by creating smarter ways to access essential benefits and services. Each year, BDT helps tens of thousands of people receive critical supports using data, technology, targeted outreach, and policy change. Since inception in 2005, BDT has submitted nearly one million applications securing over $7.5 billion in benefits and services. BDT employs more than 250 people and provides enrollment assistance to individuals in six states and policy assistance to states nationwide. For more information, visit bdtrust.org and follow us on Twitter @BeneDataTrust.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart.org represents the philanthropic efforts of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. By leaning in where the business has unique strengths, Walmart.org works to tackle key social issues and collaborate with others to spark long-lasting systemic change. Walmart has stores in 27 countries, employs more than 2 million associates and does business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. Walmart.org is helping people live better by supporting programs that work to accelerate upward job mobility for frontline workers, address hunger and make healthier, more sustainably grown food a reality, and build strong communities where Walmart operates. To learn more, visit www.walmart.org or connect on Twitter @Walmartorg.