Programs that help keep your kids fed
According to Feeding America, one out of six families struggle with hunger. That’s 49.1 million Americans, 15.8 million of whom are children. If you are struggling with food insecurity, you are not alone. There is help available.
Feeding America is a nationwide network of member food banks, food pantries, and meal programs providing food and services across the United States. Click here to find your closest participating food bank. Give the nearest pantry a call and see what documentation they need, what their hours are, and how often you can use their services. Some pantries limit client visits to once a month, but they may have listings of other food sources in the area. Also check www.foodpantries.org to see what they have listed.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
SNAP is a federal program that offers nutrition assistance to eligible low-income individuals and families. Administered by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, SNAP works with state agencies, nutrition educators, and neighborhood and faith-based organizations to ensure that those who are eligible for assistance can make informed decisions about applying for the program and access benefits. For information on SNAP or to apply for benefits, contact your local SNAP office. Each state has its own application, and many allow you to apply online.
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
WIC is a program that assists low-income women and children who are nutritionally at risk. The program is administered in each state by their health departments or Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs). For information about eligibility, contact your state or local agency.
National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
If your child (or children) is school aged, contact his or her school’s principal about the National School Lunch Program. Your child may be eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. In many districts, a child who qualifies for the NSLP can also receive breakfast at school. Districts may also participate in Seamless Summer, a program that helps children get lunch throughout the summer. Contact your child’s district at any time throughout the year for information.
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Julia Liu is the daughter of a Solo Mom and has a degree in professional communication. She is the mom to two sons. She has worked in early-childhood education and was the director of a nonprofit private preschool for many years. You can follow her on Twitter at @notaDNB1.
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