Senior commissioners looking to educate about SNAP program

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Senior commissioners discussed the importance of educating the Winters older adult community about the importance and value in the Winters Police Department SNAP program at their meeting last Wednesday.

Under subcommittee updates, the Winters Senior Commission of Aging talked about ways to share information with community members and how to help assist in getting older adults to fill out the program form.

The City of Winters SNAP (Special Needs Alert Program) program assists first responders (both Winters PD and Winters Fire Department) by informing them of any special communication or medical attention needs when they are responding to emergencies that involve residents who are signed up with the program. SNAP helps first responders on scene to identify individuals who cannot identify themselves due to a disability or condition including Alzheimer’s or dementia, autism or other speech or sensory disorder.

The information helps Law Enforcement and Fire personnel be aware of any accommodations they may need to make when interacting with the individual. The information is seen by the Yolo Emergency Communications Agency, who then informs the Winters first responders who are dispatched. Any City of Winters resident (child or adult) who has a special need is eligible to register with the SNAP program.

The program is free and individuals and caregivers can sign up by filling out a form (English or Spanish) available at the Winters Police Department lobby, Winters City Hall or the Winters Community Center. The completed forms should be turned in to the Winters PD front desk. The SNAP registration is active for one year.

Residents can also download the form from the Winters PD website, www.winterspolice.org. Police Chief John P. Miller said they can accommodate anyone living in the Winters, Yolo County area. Residents living in the Winters Solano County area would need to register with the Solano program. Questions or concerns about the SNAP program can be emailed to SNAP@cityofwinters.org.

Commissioner Marianne Boyer said some in the senior community were concerned about sharing their personal medical information. In a presentation on the SNAP program in September, Gail Jimenez, WPD Administrative Coordinator said the forms do not ask for specific medical information. Instead, it asks what types of medical accommodations the enrollee is in need of, including a photo and physical description of the individual.

Commissioner Tina Lowden said the information available to first responders through the SNAP program is vital and there needs to be more public education on the program.

Commissioner Cheryl Sandoval said the program was very helpful to her family when she was helping to care for her father. Sandoval suggested the Senior Commission help hand out SNAP forms when they work to distribute their Senior Resource Guide.

Miller confirmed to the Express that Yolo County had discontinued the Vitals program. Yolo County District Attorney, Jeff Resig offered the Vitals app to all first responders and law enforcement agencies in the county in September 2021.

However, due to a lack of participation in the program, it has been discontinued. Vitals utilized a beacon with information to receive important updates when they were within a specific number of feed of an individual. The program required a monthly subscription to use it.

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