FoodShare is Wisconsin's version of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Programs like FoodShare used to be called food stamps. People who apply and have low income can get benefits to spend at participating grocery stores, farmer's markets and other places that sell food. Find out how to apply for FoodShare and other ForwardHealth programs.
Below are other resources that can help people with getting food. You can also visit the 211 Wisconsin website or call 877-947-2211 to find out more about food programs near you.
Food support other than FoodShare
Food programs that provide direct support
CSFP works to improve the health of people with low income who are at least 60 by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA foods.
TEFAP is a federal program that provides food assistance to those with low incomes. The food is distributed through local agencies, such as:
- Food pantries—Places people can get food to take home and prepare at no cost.
- Prepared meal sites—Places people can go and eat a prepared meal at no cost, such as a soup kitchen or emergency shelter. Those who seek meals at food kitchens and shelters do not need to meet income guidelines.
Families eligible for FoodShare may also be eligible for WIC. You can apply for WIC if you are pregnant, during postpartum, or have a child under age 5. Grandparents and foster parents caring for a child under age 5 can also apply. Find contact information for WIC on the WIC program website.
Wisconsin’s school meals program offers free and reduced price meals to students at participating schools. Find out more and how to apply on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website.
Tribal Food Distribution Program
11 tribes distribute food resources which range from the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) to WIC and SNAP-Ed. You may not be able to get resources through any of the programs listed below if you already get FoodShare benefits, but you can get WIC and SNAP-Ed.
If you are interested, look at the page for the tribal program in your area for more information.
The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians Food Distribution Program provides food resources to the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians.
The Food Distribution Program of the Ho-Chunk Nation continues to provide USDA foods to those who:
- Have a low income
- Are federally recognized Native Americans or elderly persons living on, or near, tribal reservation lands
The Food Distribution Program serves the Wisconsin Dells, Wittenberg, Tomah, and Nekoosa areas. This includes the counties of
- Eau Claire
- La Crosse
The Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians Food Distribution Program is a USDA-funded food program for both tribal and non-tribal members who live on the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians Reservation and enrolled members of any tribe residing in Vilas, Oneida counties, and the southern tip of Iron County.
The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin's Food Distribution Program provides quality service, a variety of nutritious food items, recipes, and nutrition information for maintaining a balanced diet for eligible people living within its service area.
The Oneida Nation Food Distribution Center is concerned with all the issues that Oneida Nation community members with low income face, including limited education, unemployment and low self-esteem. The Oneida Nation Food Distribution Center fights hunger by giving people in their community a ‘hand up’ and not a ‘hand out.’ Its goals are more than just supplying food.
The Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Food Distribution works to provide a variety of foods to members of Native American households living on or near the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Reservation who buy and cook food together, work for low pay, are unemployed, or are elderly and disabled living on a small income. Food Distribution also conducts food demos to teach customers how to prepare healthy meals. Food Distribution offers home delivery to customers who are homebound or have no other means to come and pick up their food.
The St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin Tribal Food Distribution Program provides surplus food to eligible Native Americans living with the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin Tribal Reservation Communities and the surrounding Barron, Burnett, Polk, and Washburn counties.
The Sokaogon Chippewa Community Mole Lake Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Food Distribution Program serves Forest, Langlade, Oneida, Vilas, Florence, and Marinette counties. Those living off reservations need to have at least one person who is Native American enrolled in any Tribe in their household.
The Stockbridge-Munsee Food Distribution Program’s mission is to provide a nutritious food package for eligible households and nutrition education to improve the quality of life for the Stockbridge-Munsee Community. People who can get a food package, if they are eligible, include:
- Anyone living within the Stockbridge-Munsee Reservation boundaries
- Households with at least one enrolled, federally recognized Tribal member, living outside the reservation, but within the rural areas of Shawano County, the townships of Red Springs and Bartelme
Food bank organizations
Food banks provide resources to places like food pantries or other local sites that distribute food. They can also often connect people to other resources or programs in their communities.
Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin operates food banks in Milwaukee and Appleton. It receives food from retailers, wholesalers, farmers, and donors. The food is distributed to nearly 400 pantries and meal programs across 35 eastern Wisconsin counties.
Feed My People Food Bank believes no one should go hungry. Feed My People Food Bank rescues nationally and regionally donated food that might otherwise be thrown away. It comes from manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and growers. Feed My People Food Bank serves 14 counties in Northwestern Wisconsin.
Hunger Task Force believes that every person has a right to get healthy food with dignity. Hunger Task Force works to prevent hunger and malnutrition by providing food to people in need. It also promotes social policies to achieve a hunger free community. Hunger Task Force is an independent anti-hunger organization in Milwaukee.
The Hunger Relief Federation of Wisconsin is a statewide group of anti-hunger organizations and advocates who work together to end hunger in Wisconsin. The Hunger Relief Federation of Wisconsin aims to connect food banking partners throughout the state to engage and expand the free, local, and independent model.
St. Croix Valley Food Bank partners to provide equitable access to food, ending hunger for all in western Wisconsin. St. Croix Valley Food Bank’s vision is to end hunger in the St. Croix Valley through partnerships that build healthy communities. In 2022, St. Croix Valley Food Bank delivered fresh, healthy food to 48 pantries, shelters, backpack programs, and mobile sites throughout St. Croix, Polk, Pierce, and Burnett counties.
Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank takes a strategic approach to feeding the hungry in Northwest Wisconsin and Northeast Minnesota. It does this through the compassion and commitment of its donors, volunteers, agency partners, board and staff. Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank aims to provide nutritious food to people in need.
Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin’s goal is to end hunger in southwestern Wisconsin. Second Harvest Foodbank believes everyone in our community should have equal access to nutritious, affordable, and culturally meaningful food. Second Harvest Foodbank is in 16 Wisconsin counties, including:
Work assistance programs
If you have a low income, you may have access to work assistance programs that can help you earn money to buy food.
FSET is a free program that helps FoodShare members build their skills and find jobs. Through FSET, people can get job skills training, education activities, interview skills, and valuable work experience.
W-2 is a program that provides employment preparation services, case management and cash assistance to eligible families. Low-income parents and pregnant people can participate in W-2.
Other financial resources
There are other financial assistance programs that can help you free up money to buy food.
There are numerous public programs that can help people renovate and weatherize existing housing, fill energy needs, and access public housing and rent assistance. Programs and funding sources change rapidly. Check with your local city or county housing authority, your local Rural and Economic Development office, or your local social services or human services department for current information.
CTS is a cash benefit available only to parents who get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. CTS is not a Medicaid benefit.
WHEAP helps eligible households pay a portion of their heating and electric energy costs. To be eligible for this benefit program, you must be a Wisconsin resident and need help paying home energy costs. FoodShare members are automatically eligible.
The Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program helps eligible families pay some of the cost of child care while the parents are working or participating in an approved activity.