Tag Archives: SNAP

New Single Stop pilot program helps seniors sign up for benefits

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

The seniors at the Peter Cardella Senior Citizen Center in Ridgewood can now receive help signing up for important benefit programs through a new pilot initiative called the Single Stop Program.

It aims to expand seniors’ access to and enrollment in benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE), Extra Help, Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) and more.

“It really is a good thing,” said Barbara Toscano, executive director for the Peter Cardella Senior Center. “I think we were picked because this community would have a high level of seniors that would need these programs.”

The Single Stop Program brings in knowledgeable staff members to the senior center once a week who will screen seniors for benefits, help maximize services for individuals, and provide individual assistance in applying for and securing the benefits needed. This is all done through the pilot program’s electronic enrollment system, which will help seniors navigate the many potential assistance opportunities.

“A person can come in to the senior center and want food stamps, and it goes through their computer system,” Toscano said. “It really is wonderful because a lot of times when you have all these forms and paperwork to fill out, it can take over a month and a half sometimes to enroll…the Single Stop Program is working really well here. It runs until November, but they might come back and do it again.”

Single Stop Program staff members will be able to provide follow-up services from their Single Stop sites where seniors can obtain additional services and follow up on issues related to their benefits applications and cases.

“It’s a really nice program. It’s really helpful for the seniors,” Toscano said. “We do all this here at the Peter Cardella Center, but it takes a long time. This gets back to them really quick. Food stamps are so important, especially for seniors. It’s really good for them. We are trying to get a lot of people enrolled and are trying to bring a lot of these benefits to the seniors here.”


Star of Queens: Suzanne Windland, volunteer coordinator, Services Now for Adult Persons

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


COMMUNITY SERVICE: As volunteer coordinator for Services Now for Adult Persons , Inc (SNAP), Suzanne Windland makes sure that the seniors of eastern Queens are not left alone. Windland finds volunteers of all ages to visit the elderly homebound for one hour a week, assisting them with food shopping, household tasks or simply just spending time playing games.

“They’re there to be a friend,” Windland said. “It has made an amazing impact on so many seniors. It’s an easy way for those with busy schedules who want to give back to be able to.”

SNAP has been working from its location in Queens Village for the past 25 years. The group also provides Meals on Wheels for the homebound, bereavement services, as well as offering meals and classes at the center.

JOB/BACKGROUND: In her spare time, Windland works as a Zumba instructor for people of all ages.

She has also been heavily involved with the local Parent Teacher Associations at the schools her three daughters attended, all of whom graduated from the NYC public school system.

INSPIRATION: Windland says she gets the immediate gratification from the seniors who volunteers visit and are an inspiration to continue the work of SNAP. She says this is something that extends to the volunteers themselves, as they receive joy in knowing they have helped.

FAVORITE MEMORY: Windland remembers one instance in which an elderly person who painted was paired up with a volunteer who also painted.

Before having a visitor, the senior was lonely and did not paint as much. After having the visits, the two would paint together.

“The paintings that came out of that partnership were amazing,” said Windland.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Windland says the hardest challenge is finding volunteers who are able to take public transportation to the seniors’ homes. “Sometimes it takes the volunteers up to an hour to get to the home. That’s why I’m ecstatic when someone says they have a car.”