There are times in life that regardless of the reason, we can find ourselves in hardship and in need of a leg up. It can happen to any of us. When unfortunate circumstances strike and we aren’t prepared, basics such as food are sometimes hard to come by. Something that many people take for granted can be scarce. If this happens, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are resources and organizations out there that are willing to lend a hand and help you get back up on your feet. In a given community, there may be food pantries, churches, or local organizations that offer assistance to those in need. Beyond the local outreaches, you may also find some of these federal food assistance programs may be able to offer some aid:
- WIC (Women, infants, and children) is designed to be a supplemental food program to provide nutritious food to low-income women and children who would otherwise be at risk of not being able to access these foods. WIC is also designed to provide additional information on healthy eating as well as referrals for health care.
- SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs) is meant to assist eligible, low-income households with supplemental nutritious food to help sustain good health. The monthly benefit is loaded on to a card to be used as a debit card for food at authorized retailers. View a quick guide to snap eligibility here.
- The SBP (School Breakfast Program) and NSLP (National School Lunch Program) are meant to help low-income students who qualify to receive free or reduced price lunches and breakfasts at schools or districts that participate in this federal program. Check to see if your local schools participate in these programs.
- In addition to SBP and NSLP, There is also a program offered during the summer that helps fill the gap in school years called SFSP (Summer Food Service Program). Check to see if your local sponsors participate in these programs.
- CSFP (Commodity Supplemental Food Program) is geared toward low income persons over 60 as a way to supplement their diets with USDA food, improving nutrition.
- TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program)TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program) makes USDA food available to States. The States then, in turn, provide the food to organizations that they choose to distribute the food (typically food banks). The food banks then distribute the food to local soup Kitchens and food pantries to be given to people directly.
For more info on specific programs, check out Food and Nutrition Service. Reach out to see if you qualify for aid.
Now if you are reading this article because you are in a position to help and would like to contribute resources, consider donating food to a food pantry or local food drives. When we are able to help others, it is important to show gratitude and offer a hand. You can also contribute financially to organizations that help provide food to those in need. Don’t have the means to donate food or funds to help? You can give some of your time. Try contacting a local soup kitchen to see if they could use some help serving others.
When you find yourself back on your feet and no longer in need of these type of programs, return the favor to your community through service or resources. There are plenty of local organizations that can use your help- whether it is one time or on a regular basis. Or lend an ear to someone in need and encourage them to keep going and let them know they are not alone. What comes around goes around. Help encourage your neighbors and help others to get a leg up when you can. A thankful heart is a happy heart!