Your SNAP benefits are cut

Keeping food on the table for the holidays!

On Nov. 1, 2013, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly known as food stamps) were cut. All participants receiving SNAP benefits will see a decrease in what they receive. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities gives a clearer picture of the specific cuts households will see. The average benefit per person will drop from less than $4.50 per day to about $4.20 per day, or about $1.40 per meal. How can you keep food on the table, especially over the holidays?

Many communities have some of the following, and may be found in a directory or online:

  1. A Community Action Agency, where you may be able to sign-up and receive food once a month.
  2. Food banks that provide food to organizations that serve low-income individuals and families.
  3. Food pantries usually affiliated with a religious organization that has scheduled times to hand out food.
  4. A resource hot-line, or internet based help center that can direct you to other resources in your area.
  5. Food Co-op or food buying club, like Local Harvest that takes on many forms and may or may not meet your needs.
  6. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule and Christmas food giveaways. Many churches, synagogues, mosques or non-profit organizations have food sign-up dates for given holidays. Families can enroll and pick up food and meals at a later date. If you missed the Thanksgiving sign-up, Christmas sign-ups are probably starting now.
  7. Check on resources at your local Area Agency on Aging.
  8. Large and some smaller churches have pick-up times for handing out food – call and find out.
  9. Farmers and farm markets may be willing to give you reduced or free goods, just for asking.
  10. Soup Kitchens.

Things that you can do:

  1. Call your local Michigan State University Extension office and enroll in their nutrition education class, it will help you prepare healthy food on a low or fixed budget.
  2. Sit down with the family and explain what is happening and make adjustments in the amount and frequency of meals and snacks. Example, a common challenge is eating cold cereals throughout the day, or eating all the cereals as soon as they are purchased.
  3. Make more homemade or semi-homemade meals.
  4. Pack a lunch for work and school.
  5. Sign-up for free/reduced breakfast/lunch at your child’s school.
  6. If you are pregnant or have young children, check to see if you are eligible for benefits from Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
  7. If you are pregnant, plan to breastfeed your child.
  8. Farmers may be willing to trade food for service at their farm or farm market.
  9. Volunteer at your child’s school cafeteria, free meals are usually a benefit for your service.
  10. Help out at a local food pantry; service workers can get help with food this way.
  11. Cut down or eliminate fast food, alcohol and tobacco products.

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