Natural disasters cause financial instability, hundreds of thousands of people can be laid off from their jobs. The government tries to adjust, for example because of the pandemic, eligibility and requirements for food assistance have been expanded. If you’re in need of food assistance, here are some resources you can look into.
SNAP benefits, commonly known as food stamps, are available to qualifying individuals who meet the income requirements. Once you go through an application and interview process, your state will issue you a debit card known as your EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card. The amount you receive will depend on your individual circumstances. You are required to spend this money at approved retailers only. That includes most grocery stores but may also include local establishments like farmer’s markets. Check with local retailers to determine whether or not they accept EBT. This is a great option to help you get back on your feet. Keep in mind most state’s require you to re-apply and resubmit paperwork twice a year.
Contact your local WIC office to see if you’re eligible for their services. You can apply if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. You can also apply for your children who are ages five and younger. Their mission is to provide the funds needed to ensure children and mothers are consuming nutritious food. According to the usa.gov website, “Many low-income women and young children can get healthy food to add to their diet. It’s available through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). WIC also offers nutrition counseling and referrals to health, welfare, and social services.” This service ensures that income never stands in the way of providing healthy options for mothers and children.
National Hunger Hotline
If you’re hungry now and you’re in urgent need of food, you can call the national hunger hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-866-348-6479. This phone line is active Monday through Friday, 7:00 am to 10:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. You’ll be able to speak to a representative in either English or Spanish who will help you find meal sites, food banks and other social services located near you. If you’re not keen on speaking over the phone, you can text ‘97779’ for assistance. Follow the prompts to access food locations closest to you.
Senior Food Resources
Most states offer a couple different programs for low income seniors. Regarding these programs, Usa.gov states, The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program provides coupons for fresh fruits, vegetables, honey, and herbs. Use them at farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community farms. It’s a great option for seniors who are still mobile. For those who are more home bound, there’s another excellent option. The Commodity Supplemental Food Program provides a monthly package of healthy food.
Don’t let anything, even a global pandemic stop you from nourishing your body. Getting proper nutrients is one more way you can help keep yourself healthy. Look into the above mentioned programs if you’re in need of food assistance.