HomeTechnologyGadgetsThese 5 Food Assistance Programs Could Supplement Your SNAP Benefits in December

These 5 Food Assistance Programs Could Supplement Your SNAP Benefits in December

Grocery store clerk calling customers

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SNAP isn’t the only food benefit program out there.


Most important points

  • Pregnant women and parents of young children may be eligible for the WIC program.
  • Seniors may be able to receive monthly food packages containing nutritious foods.
  • Children from low-income families may be able to receive school meals for free or at reduced rates.

The rapidly rising cost of living has put a strain on many Americans Bank balances. The cost of food, housing, gas and other necessities have all skyrocketed and many people’s wages have not kept pace. The USDA estimates that more than 1 in 10 households experienced food insecurity last year, with more than 33 million Americans living in food-insecure homes.

The Supplemental Nutritional Utility (SNAP) is the largest food aid program in the United States and has been a lifeline for many households in recent years. It has helped more than 40 million families by 2021. But that money only goes so far, and some households don’t qualify for it SNAP Benefits not at all. If you’re struggling to feed your family in December, know that SNAP isn’t the only program out there: You may be eligible for additional assistance. There are also various local initiatives to help people put a Christmas meal on the table.

1. Special Supplementary Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

Usually referred to as WIC, the Woman, Infants and Children program provides assistance to low-income women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and children under the age of five. The program not only provides food aid, but also nutrition and health services.

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The program is administered by individual states and provides nutritious foods such as milk, cheese, cereal, eggs, whole-wheat bread and canned fish. The USDA estimates that it helped more than 40% of all babies in the United States last year.

2. Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CFSP)

The CSFP meets monthly food boxes for seniors. The idea is to provide seniors with additional nutritious foods such as fruit juice, canned beans, meats and vegetables, cheese and cereals to supplement their diet. Individual states administer their own programs, but in most cases, seniors over age 60 with incomes less than 130% of the federal poverty line qualify. If you already receive SNAP benefits, you may also be eligible for CSFP – there’s nothing stopping you from receiving both.

3. The National School Lunch Program (NSLP)

Launched in 1946, the school lunch program aims to provide free or reduced-price school meals to children from low-income households. Some schools also participate in a free school breakfast. These initiatives ensure that children from low-income families are eligible for a reduced price or free meals at school.

There are a few ways children can qualify. Children in households already receiving SNAP benefits are automatically eligible, as are those living in foster care. Otherwise, it depends on family size and income level.

During the summer holidays, there is a related group of programs called Summer Meals for Kids. It is run by a mix of community groups, schools and other local organizations and the idea is to ensure that children have access to free lunches even during the holidays. To find out which programs work in your area, No Kid Hungry has a free text service – text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 304-304 and enter your zip code.

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4. Food banks and soup kitchens

There is a network of food banks and meal programs (commonly known as soup kitchens) across the US. They are served by food banks, which are not open to the public. They are more like warehouses that distribute food to different organizations.

Food pantries operate in a variety of ways, so it’s worth checking when your local pantries are open and what requirements they have. You may have to wait in line, so it’s a good idea to arrive early. Soup kitchens serve hot food for free or at a hefty discount to those in need. They often operate out of vans or pop-up buildings and, like food pantries, are usually run by volunteers.

Search online to find out more about food banks or meal programs in your area. United Way (2-1-1) maintains a database of food and other assistance you may be eligible for. You can also call the USDA National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-348-6479.

5. Food aid for Christmas

If you’re not sure how to put food on the table this Christmas, some extra help may be at hand. There is no specific national program, although Feeding America, which operates a number of food banks and food pantries, works to prevent hunger during the holiday season.

Check with your local food banks, soup kitchens, charities, and religious or community groups to find out if they have a Christmas program available. See what your local Salvation Army does, or search for adoption programs in your area. In addition to food, you may find organizations that collect toys for those in need. If you’re not sure where to start, call 2-1-1 to ask about holiday support in your area.

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It boils down

The rising cost of living has caused many Americans to dip into their lives savings account or go into debt to pay for food. Unfortunately, those who already found it difficult to pay their bills and put money aside have been hit hardest by rising prices. If you’re struggling to put food on the table, find out what help you qualify for. The more you can save on groceries, the more you’ll have available to cover other essential expenses.

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