Tag Archives: food assistance

Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program-It’s a SNAP!

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Single moms in school can have trouble making ends meet with school supplies, tuition, and transportation. If feeding your family is one of the expenses you are having trouble with, and you are in need of food assistance, there are many outlets for where you can find help. Aside from local food pantries and other charitable food centers, there are government programs, both local and federal, in place that can help you provide nutritious food for you and your family.

It’s a SNAP

The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) is what used to be known as the Food Stamp Program, which originated in 1939. It has helped millions of people meet their nutritional requirements over the years. You can use the online tool at www.USDA.gov to find out if you are eligible. Those in need can apply at local assistance offices.

Many states offer application forms which you can download from the Food and Nutrition Service website at www.fns.usda.gov. A few accept online applications. If your state does not yet offer this, you can call or visit your local SNAP office to get the form.

Once you complete the form, return it to the SNAP office. You will need to make an appointment to meet with a SNAP worker. Be sure to find out what paperwork and documentation you will need to bring to the meeting. Being prepared will move your application process along more quickly. Some items you might be asked to bring are:

  • Driver’s license or state identification card
  • Birth certificate
  • Pay stubs
  • Agency letter showing money received, like Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, child support, alimony, unemployment, retirement, etc.
  • Rental agreement or letter from your landlord, or mortgage statement that shows your address
  • Utility bills, such as electricity, gas, and water
  • Canceled checks for daycare or child support payments for your child(ren)
  • Medical bills that you pay (if you are 60 or older, or disabled)

Gather the requested documents and attend the appointment. Most people find out whether or not they are eligible at the interview. If you are approved, you will be issued a card similar to an ATM card with your benefits transferred to it. You use this card to pay for your groceries.

Only approved retailers can accept SNAP payments. If you are unsure of where you can shop, you can use the retailer locator tool at www.snapretailerlocator.com to find stores in your area that accept the card.

SNAP also provides educational classes called SNAP-Ed which teach nutrition, shopping, cooking and how to stretch your food dollars.

Food Assistance for Single Moms Attending College

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Very few if any colleges offer food assistance to single moms. Most colleges offer meal plans for students living on campus but these are not often available to students living off campus and those attending college part time, as most single moms are doing. There are some organizations that may be able to help.

Food Stamps

Most states have their own Department of Human Services and each will have its own rules and procedures for qualifying for food assistance. It is best to check into your state’s policies before going to their offices as they will require specific documentation in order to verify your situation and status.

WIC

The Women, Infants and Children program gives coupons for free items to qualifying women each month, based on income level and household size. The items may not be substituted. They cover many staples such as milk, bread, cereal, fruits and vegetables and juices. In the case of infants, they also cover formula. The benefits are extended to women who are pregnant and to those who are postpartum, up to six months after birth. It also provides benefits for the infant up to one year of age and for children up to the age of five. Check with the website for qualification and documentation requirements.

Food Banks

Food banks are another option. Private organizations and churches provide food for those in need. A quick search of the internet will likely turn up some in your area. You can also contact local churches and if they don’t sponsor one, they may be able to put you in touch with one. Another resource is Feeding America which lists food banks by state.

Angel Food Ministries

Angel Food is a non profit, non denominational organization that brings low-cost food to those who want it. Each month, they have a different menu and the amount of food is enough to feed a family of four for about one week at an average cost of $28. The menu is valued at an average of $60 if you were to buy it in stores. There are no qualifications, minimums, income restrictions, or applications required to participate. You simply locate an organization sponsoring the event, order and prepay for your food and then arrive on the preset date to pick it up. They also offer discounts on specialty items that vary from month to month. You can learn more about Angel Food Ministries and find a location near you at their website.