Applying Racial Equity to U.S. Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs - Flipbook - Page 26
implementation. People with personal experience may be more likely to understand and empathize with participation
barriers and less likely to pass judgement. Moreover, SNAP’s goal is to help people who face hunger, and hiring staff
with direct knowledge helps ensure that the voices of food insecure people are heard and can influence office culture and
practices to be of greater service.
• Take steps to ensure that the overall caseworker racial and ethnic makeup reflects the racial and ethnic
demographics of the community. Caseworkers should reflect the community in which they work. This is particularly
important in eliminating or reducing language barriers.
Establish a mechanism for SNAP beneficiaries to equitably participate
in program design, planning, and evaluation
Currently, SNAP does not have a formal process that allows recipients to equitably participate in designing, implementing,
and evaluating the program. This has led to many recommendations being made and implemented without consulting people
with lived experience; participants are also rarely asked for their suggestions or their reactions to proposals.
Equity, as emphasized throughout this report, includes putting the needs of the people most affected by the problem at the
center (see glossary). Racial equity in SNAP requires making the needs of communities of color the center of planning, which
in turn requires the equitable participation of SNAP recipients of color, informing planning on a regular basis, to ensure that
what will work best for them and their communities remains at the forefront.
• Create a formal mechanism to solicit feedback from SNAP participants. Each recipient should receive a survey via text
and/or email asking about the quality of services. Survey questions should be created in partnership with current recipients
to ensure that the questions reflect community concerns. The survey should also include space for respondents to add their
own comments and ideas. In addition, the public comment period should be extended.
Both of these suggestions increase opportunities to offer feedback but do not build equitable participation in the process.
A SNAP ambassador program made up of current participants from different parts of the country would introduce
equitable participation. The ambassadors could provide detailed information on their experiences and those of people in
their community. They would continue to be involved throughout the entire process (including decision making) and be
compensated for their time at a living wage rate.
Strengthen the collection and disaggregation of data within SNAP
Currently, data on food insecurity is disaggregated by race, but it is not fully inclusive. For example, there is no data on
black Latino/as; rather, data is only captured on Latino/as in general.
Data is not collected on the nutritional status of people in each racial group, nor on the general quality of the food eaten by
people. The frequency and extent to which households run out of food is also not tracked.
Having this information could help tailor policies to the needs of the community. It would also help create sub-benchmarks
that could ultimately make it possible to determine the impact of specific policy changes on each group’s nutritional status.
APPLYING RACIAL EQUITY TO U.S. FEDERAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS: SNAP, WIC AND CHILD NUTRITION