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.