In modern times more and more people need financial assistance. The economy has faced a serious downturn over the last several years, and this has left people struggling to make ends meet. One serious issue that many people face is being able to afford food. Food is an absolute necessity in order to live, but many people find themselves unable to afford food. Fortunately there are some food assistance programs available. Available programs depend on many factors such as location, income, and other aspects. In general, however, there are a few different food assistance options available in most areas. The following programs are a few of the common food assistance options available across the country.
1. Food Banks and Soup Kitchens Most cities have some sort of food bank or soup kitchen. A food bank is a non-profit organization that gives out food to agencies that give the food to people in need. Most of the food given to food banks is donated by individuals or corporations. Food banks distribute their food to homeless shelters, soup kitchens, orphanages, and low income schools. A soup kitchen is a meal center where food is offered to individuals for free or for a low cost. Most soup kitchens are found in low income areas, and they are commonly run by church organizations and community volunteers. Food banks and soup kitchens can often be located through local churches and community centers. Resources: Local Food Banks – Feeding America
2. Food Stamps Food stamps are provided to low income individuals and family. These stamps now come in a debit card style, and they can be used at grocery stores to obtain food and essential items. The amount of money given to an individual or family depends on a variety of factors. Some of these factors include income and available resources. More Information: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10101.html
3. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) SNAP is the official financial assistance program for low income and no income individuals and families. This program is a federal aid program, and it is run by the Food and Nutrition service of the USDA. Available funds and program details vary by state because the benefits are distributed individually by each state. There are many online resources that an individual or family can use to learn about SNAP. Most states have a web page that allows users to estimate how much assistance they qualify for. Community centers and social service departments in most cities provide SNAP applications and resources. Receiving SNAP assistance takes time because an individual must prove income resources and go through an interview process. More Information: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/
4.Other Food Assistance Resources Certain cities may have less common food assistance resources, as these unique programs can often be found in big cities. Some grocery stores and restaurants provide a free donation of food to homeless individuals during a certain day of the week. Many churches also have a free or low cost meal on a weekly basis. These various food assistance resources can be explored at community centers and community related websites.
Being unable to afford food is a common problem in modern society, but fortunately there are many resources available for individuals and families to take advantage of.