Hunger Task Force Fosters Dignity and Connection through FoodShare Support

Feb 28, 2024

Ivette Rivera Soto, a 64-year-old retired teacher’s assistant living in Greenfield, knows the delicate dance of balancing budget, health, and family. Cooking traditional sofrito and keeping her diabetes in check are daily priorities, but access to healthy food isn’t always a given, and the pandemic’s economic impact made food security a precarious balancing act.

Since connecting in July of 2020, Carmen Delvalle, FoodShare Advocate at Hunger Task Force, has helped Ivette navigate the intricacies of the FoodShare program and helped her receive, at the height of the pandemic, up to $204 a month in FoodShare benefits to spend on groceries and shop with dignity.  Additionally, Carmen helped Ivette sign up to receive a monthly Stockbox and connected her each summer to the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program which provides vouchers to seniors for the purchase of healthy produce at local farmers’ markets.

Life took another turn when the pandemic’s temporary boost in FoodShare benefits ended. In March 2023, the federal program providing extra COVID Foodshare payments expired, and Ivette’s monthly support dropped to a mere $23 per month. Beyond the impact to Ivette’s grocery budget, this decision totaled $1 billion annually that Wisconsinites would lose in food buying power. Yet, through Carmen’s continued guidance and Ivette’s own resourcefulness, they made it work. The knowledge that Carmen is just a phone call away provides an invaluable safety net, and the two talk on the phone at least once a month.

Ivette’s story is a testament not just to her own resilience, but to the invaluable work of the FoodShare Advocate team at Hunger Task Force. Our Advocates tirelessly empower individuals like Ivette to navigate the complexities of food assistance and secure the resources they need to thrive.

Hunger Task Force is Milwaukee’s Free & Local food bank and Wisconsin’s anti-hunger leader. The organization’s core values are Dignity, Justice, Equity, Compassion and Stewardship. Hunger Task Force feeds people today by providing healthy and culturally appropriate food to hungry children, families and seniors in the community absolutely free of charge. Hunger Task Force also works to end future hunger by advocating for strong public policies and nutrition programs at the local, state and federal level.