Health & Disability Advocates





The Northern Illinois Food & Nutrition Partnership (NIFNAP) is a coalition, funded by the Altria Group, Inc., and led by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.  NIFNAP members include:  Health & Disability Advocates (HDA); the AIDS Foundation of Chicago; the People's Resource Center; Catholic Charities of Lake County; Vital Bridges; Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law; Age Options; and the Greater Chicago Food Depository. 

This partnership was formed to improve food security and access to nutritious food for vulnerable populations, for example people with chronic illnesses/disabilities and seniors.  The coalition educates policy makers, service providers and lawmakers on the existing gaps in food and nutrition programs, and ways to maximize resources to better meet current needs.  It has also increased efforts to enroll people living with HIV/AIDS, low-income seniors, and adults with disabilities in the food stamp program, and assisted those individuals in maximizing any benefits they receive. 

As one of the coalition members, HDA provides research and advocacy support to NIFNAP.  We have played a key role in identifying ways to bolster food stamp program participation among low-income seniors and people with disabilities in Illinois.  For example, HDA played a lead role in fostering the collaboration between the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) in order to increase food stamp participation among people who have applied for SSI benefits.  As a result of our collaboration, DHS now produces quarterly reports tracking the number of Illinois Food Stamp households receiving SSI.  A year of reports shows that 728 additional SSI households are receiving food stamps since the collaboration began.  To learn more, click here to read a summary of our success - NIFNAP Fosters Collaboration between DHS and SSA. 

As part of NIFNAP, HDA also teamed up with the Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children, the Greater Chicago Food Depository and Project HEALTH to provide food stamp trainings to staff at La Rabida Children's Hospital and the Friend Family Center.  The goal of the presentation was to provide health center staff with the information and resources necessary to connect patients with food stamps. 

In May 2008, approximately 50 social workers, nurses, doctors and dieticians received information on the impact of food insecurity on children' health, behavioral and academic outcomes; how food stamps provide vital income support for families to purchase nutritious food; and how health care professionals play a critical role in addressing food insecurity.  Click here to see a copy of the training presentation on food stamps.  At each training, local food stamp information resource postcards were distributed and continue to be handed out to patients who come into the health centers.  Click here to download your copy of the Food Stamps Resource Card

In September 2008, NIFNAP rolled into the Illinois Food and Nutrition Partnership (IFNAP), a statewide coalition that will advocate for policies and systems changes that will expand access to nutritious, affordable food.  Membership to IFNAP is open to any organization that is committed to increasing access to affordable, nutritiou foods for all.  Please contact Alicia Huguelet (, Policy Director at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, for more information on joining IFNAP.  

To learn more about our NIFNAP partners, follow the links below:


Online Library

HDA has a wide variety of documents related to food and nutrition programs in our online Materials Library.

Here are some of the valuable resources you'll find there:

NIFNAP's Collaboration with SSA & DHS

This document describes the role that NIFNAP and HDA played in fostering a successful collaboration between DHS and SSA to increase participation in the food stamp program among people who have applied for SSI benefits.

Food Stamp Resource Card

This resource card provides local information on the food stamp program. It is distributed by the Northern Illinois Food & Nutrition Advocacy Parntership (NIFNAP) to both individuals and service providers.

NIFNAP Food Stamp Training

This presentation was given by the Northern Illinois Food & Nutrition Advocacy Partnership (NIFNAP) at La Rabida Children's Hosptial and the Friend Family Center. It describes the connection between food insecurity and child health. It also explains the basics of the food stamp program and offers healthcare providers ways to connect patients with resources for food security.

Web Resources

HDA also maintains a list of Links with many other websites and online resources on food and nutrition programs.