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Program Summary

The goal of the Wellness and Independence through Nutrition Program (WIN) is to reduce hunger in underserved mid-life and older Iowans, age 50 years and older, who are eligible for but not yet enrolled in the Supplemental and Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The WIN Program promotes awareness of how SNAP can improve the nutritional intake and quality of life for adults ages 50+ years. As of 2015, the WIN Program has reached 1,803 adults in Iowa between the ages of 50 and 101 and trained 27 volunteer educators over a 2-year period.

Program Benefits

The WIN Program is designed to:

  • Increase awareness of SNAP and how it can help maintain good health and independence for adults ages 50+.
  • Increase SNAP enrollment among Iowans ages 50+ with limited resources currently eligible for, but not enrolled for, receiving SNAP.
  • Increase the number of volunteer educators advocating the benefits of SNAP to the target audience.

The WIN Program appears to be effective in promoting SNAP awareness among adults age 50+. The variety of WIN Program outreach sessions provides many opportunities for WIN Program volunteer educators to inform adults of how SNAP benefits can aid in promoting wellness. The following characteristics likely contribute to the WIN Program success:

  • Ready-to-go curriculum with a training workshop
  • Use of volunteers for outreach efforts
  • Variety of outreach programming activities
  • Wellness-focus of the program

Target Audience

Adults age 50+ years who are eligible for but not yet enrolled in the SNAP.

Program Length

The WIN Program is comprised of six outreach programming options. The WIN volunteer training is two hours.

Program Cost

Funded by USDA’s SNAP Program, an equal opportunity provider and employer through the Iowa Department of Human Services and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Services.

Equipment Needed

Program Manual: outlines how to implement the WIN Program in Iowa; this could be revised to be state specific if desired Indirect presentations include (volunteer facilitates program by starting DVD or sitting at display table):

  • 1. WIN Guide DVD – video that discusses food assistance and highlights key components of the WIN Guide (can be played on a computer or TV).
  • 2. WIN Guide Display – interactive display to be used at health fairs or meal sites where there is “take out”; or even an information booth at a local store, medical clinic etc.

This display is also being shared with Food Bank of the Heartland Outreach volunteers to be used during their outreach activities. 2017-2018 New curricula will be created including:

  • 1. WIN Guide Discussion points – we will be expanding our efforts to reach prospective volunteers who meet with older adults on a one-to-one basis (e.g., visiting nurses, pastoral care, doctors). We will create a list of talking points that highlight the content of the WIN Guides, in particular, the food assistance eligibility criteria.
  • 2. To Your Good Health! – We will develop an interactive discussion that talks about the importance of food assistance and the eligibility requirements then follow-up with an activity that shows how $16/month of food assistance can buy healthy foods. This will be based on pages 13-14 of the WIN Guide. The purpose is to show participants that although $16 may seem like not enough to worry about applying for food assistance, it can actually be very helpful (a major barrier to applying).

Want to Know More?

If you are interested in learning more about the effectiveness of the program, check out the findings in the Journal of Extension article “Promoting Awareness of SNAP Among Iowans Age 50+ with The Wellness and Independence through Nutrition (WIN) Program“. You can also visit this site to learn more about the program itself.


If you are interested in learning more about the program, please contact Sarah Francis, Iowa State University, at or 515-294-1456.

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