Struggling to keep food on the table?

Have you considered food stamps/SNAP benefits?

Are you struggling to keep food on the table? Did you or someone in your household lose their job, have work hours been reduced or have you lost an income earner? One way to compensate for the loss in your food budget is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known by its previous name (which changed in 2008) as the “Food Stamps” program. In the state of Michigan, you may connect with this program through your local Michigan State University Extension. Some states have this program by a different name.

There may also be different eligibility requirements from state to state, such as factors like income, family size, etc., that influence the amount of benefits that you receive, but its worth checking into. Snap benefits can be applied for online or more commonly, at an agency referred to, in most states as the Department of Human Services. Another more commonly used food assistance program which is a service of the local health department, is the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which serves pregnant and lactating mothers and other low-income families.

If you think you’ll find it difficult to use food stamps, there is some good news, all states now use the Electric Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. The EBT card, which is similar to a “credit card,” has the benefits loaded on the card and is used at the point of sale, making use of this type of food assistance less obvious to others around you.

In addition to receiving SNAP benefits monthly, in some states and regions there is the added benefit of being able to use the EBT card at authorized farm markets, to help give you better access to fresh fruits, vegetable and seeds for growing your own food.

The best part is, in addition to receiving these benefits there is an educational component offered through your local Michigan State University Extension office or other SNAP-Ed programs, which educates SNAP members to “stretch” their food dollars, refers members to other resources and provides incentives to help supplement your food and nutrition preparation methods. They are effective in helping you feed your family all month and help make sure your food lasts the entire month, because food benefits are not intended to cover your total monthly food budget. This way you can stay on track until your family situation improves.

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