As a single mom student, one of the areas that you may really struggle with is meal options. Being on the go all the time makes it hard to make sure you eat a well balanced diet, and of course the expense of either eating our or packing a lunch can also be a factor. There are several ways that single moms can eat better without breaking their budget. Take advantage of these food resources for single mom students.
- WIC – the Women and Infant Children program is designed to provide the necessities for pregnant women and children up to 5 years of age. This program provides vouchers to be used at the grocery store for several basic staples each month. Cheese, beans, milk, cereal and other items are included on the list. By utilizing your WIC vouchers, you can pack a great lunch for you and your little ones when you’re on the go.
- Food Stamps – Based on your income, you may qualify for food stamps to cover those grocery bills that would otherwise make eating healthy a challenge. You can purchase any food item with food stamps, so steer clear of the junk food and get some fresh fruit and produce, meat and actual meal ingredients. You can cook and prepare a week’s worth of lunches to keep in the fridge or freezer for healthy meal options all week!
- Coupons – Yes, it can be a hassle to sort, clip, and file coupons, but you don’t have to make it into a full time job–keep in mind that every penny you save is a good thing. When you get a product that has a coupon for use on your next purchase, stick it in your purse. When you go to the store next time, you’ll have it with you.
- Giveaways – Many grocery stores offer raffles or giveaways, if you see one of these, go ahead and take a few seconds to participate. Some of them include thousands of dollars worth of food.
- Visit online sites with quick, frugal meal options for college students. You may be financially struggling as a single mom student, but there are many students whose finances are just as tight who are being creative and frugal with what they can afford.
Don’t feel as if you’re the only one in your situation, and don’t allow pride to stop you from taking advantage of any sort of assistance or program that could help you make sure that you and your children eat a healthy diet while you go to school.
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.
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.
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 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.