Partners make all the difference for DUFB

This is the second in a series of posts about the invaluable partners who have helped make DUFB 2011 a success.

Double Up Food Bucks continues to thrive – over $950,000 in SNAP benefits plus DUFB tokens have flowed through participating markets since June, bringing more fresh foods to Michigan dinner tables and more income to Michigan farmers. Over 10,000 customers who had never used a Bridge Card at a farmers’ market before have visited DUFB markets, representing over a third of all Bridge Card transactions at markets this season. This success is due to a focused communications effort, much of which was made possible by our partnership with the Michigan Department of Human Services (MDHS).

DUFB Billboard

The Michigan Department of Human Services is a broad-reaching state agency, with services including food and cash assistance programs, job and education programs, and child and family services. MDHS is responsible for administering the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which in Michigan is called the Food Assistance Program (FAP). Nearly 2 million Michigan residents receive SNAP/FAP, and MDHS has helped more Michigan residents access the benefits they qualify for while also making more efficient use of State resources by introducing an online application process through the portal MiBridges. Over 365,000 people have applied for benefits through this system since it was introduced two years ago.

The Department is committed to helping Michigan families access available and appropriate benefits and has supported Double Up Food Bucks since its inception. MDHS has collaborated with DUFB partner MIFMA for several years to help equip farmers’ markets to accept SNAP benefits. Since 2010, MDHS has been instrumental in our broad-reaching communications campaign by facilitating a series of direct mailings to over 200,000 SNAP recipient households. We hear from market managers that first-time customers arrive at markets carrying the postcards they receive from MDHS, so we know that the mailings have brought new business to our participating markets. The mailings are funded by private foundation dollars and USDA SNAP-Ed funds through the Michigan Nutrition Network (MNN), not at taxpayer expense. (More on MNN in our next post.)

Detroit Postcard

FFN’s collaboration with MDHS began under the auspices of a previous administration, and the strong commitment to a shared mission has continued through the transition to the Snyder administration and MDHS Director Maura Corrigan. Ben Kohrman, Assistant Deputy Director in the Office of Quality and Adult Services, has choreographed the multiple mailings and several other projects, and we are most grateful for his capable help.