FoodShare is a fantastic program that helps our friends and neighbors in Wisconsin purchase the food they need to stay healthy. It is at the frontline of defense against hunger. People of all ages use this program for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include losing a job, living on a small or fixed income, having medical issues and being unable to work, or simply being retired and needing a bit of a hand up.

This income-based program is available to those who qualify for as long as they need, but typically individuals and families rely on FoodShare for less than a year. With FoodShare, families can purchase the specific items they need for their diets that food pantries may not always have available. Participants can use FoodShare at farmers markets, as well as to purchase seeds and plants to grow food.

You may be asking yourself, where did this great program come from? FoodShare has actually been around for many years. It is Wisconsin’s version of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  FoodShare, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, provides food benefits, access to a healthy diet, and education on food preparation and nutrition to low income households.  Recipients use their benefits on a debit-like card (the QUEST Card) in authorized food stores.

A Wisconsin Quest card with a green background and outline of the state of Wisconsin. The debit-like card used by FoodShare recipients.

An example of a QUEST Card. For more information or to apply, visit getaquestcard.org.

FoodShare can be used to purchase a variety of foods such as meat, dairy, produce, canned goods, baby formula, and frozen items.  It cannot be used to purchase alcohol, tobacco, or foods meant to be consumed in the store.

While this program has been around for some time, there are still many myths or misconceptions surrounding it. Sometimes, individuals believe that FoodShare is a drain on our economy. Truth is, it is actually GOOD for the economy! Since QUEST Card funds are spent at local stores and farmers markets, the money stays in our community! It is estimated that for every $5 in FoodShare funds spent in the local community, an estimated $9 of economic activity is generated.

Some believe that FoodShare fraud is widespread and people abuse these benefits. However, there are serious consequences for misusing these funds. The FoodShare fraud rate is at an all-time low, resting at 1.6%. This means that the funding is getting to those who truly need it to maintain happy, fulfilling lives!

A pie chart listing all the benefits of the FoodShare program.

A chart listing the income guidelines per person in your household to qualify for FoodShare.