The Dynamic Duo of SNAP Outreach
The NJ SNAP program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) provides vital resources for underserved populations to improve food security and helps those struggling to afford groceries. In October 2021, the Food Bank of South Jersey brought together the talents of two coordinators to launch a SNAP application assistance program for residents in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Salem counties.
Kaya Durkee and Talia Smith, FBSJ’s dynamic duo of SNAP Outreach, engage residents in our service area to bring awareness to the program, assist with the application process and answer any questions to provide more clarity on the program. While SNAP outreach is a newer venture for FBSJ, Talia and Kaya have been assisting with South Jersey hunger relief programs for quite some time.
“When we set up at a pantry, we’re able to help someone get their staple groceries and apply for SNAP benefits in less than an hour. This is a big relief for people who are struggling to pay bills and afford groceries at the same time.”
Talia first started with FBSJ’s Health and Wellness team as a Healthy Pantry Initiative Educator in 2019. Her role consisted of bringing healthy food options to our network of partner agencies in South Jersey through nutrition education and cooking demonstrations using items commonly distributed at our pantries.
Kaya first joined FBSJ as an AmeriCorps Summer VISTA in 2019, then again in 2020 as Summer Meals Coordinator, overseeing Mobile Cafe logistics, training, and assisting with program audits. She then became the Community Impact Coordinator for our Programs and Services team before moving to her current role.
Both Talia and Kaya have taken on SNAP Outreach with the same passion and mission-focused drive that led to the success in their previous FBSJ roles. Thanks to the continued work of Talia and Kaya, a more sustainable South Jersey is on the horizon.