Ad campaign targets those who need food aid

EBT card
An Electronic Benefits Transfer card.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

A new statewide marketing campaign will encourage more Minnesotans to sign up for food stamps.

Advertisements on buses, in retail outlets and doctors offices will encourage more people to sign up. The ads will target the newly unemployed and seniors, who are often hesitant to accept food stamps.

Currently, 65 percent of Minnesotans who qualify for food stamps — now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — are enrolled.

The campaign will try to convince seniors there's no stigma to signing up, said Colleen Moriarty, who heads the advocacy group Hunger Solutions.

"Part of our message has been, 'You worked hard all your life. And if you take advantage of this opportunity and get help with your nutrition, your medication is going to work better, you'll probably be able to stay in your home longer, your family won't worry about you as much," Moriarty said. "It could make a big difference.' "

The $200,000 campaign launches later this month. It was funded by the General Mills Foundation.