Food Programs and Fighting Hunger with Benefits.gov

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 842 million people in the world lack adequate food and more than 25,000 die each day from hunger related illnesses. The FAO, Stop Hunger Now, and other global, mission-based organizations work together to celebrate ‘Hunger Action Month’ in October. ‘Hunger Action Month’ aims to raise public awareness of world hunger and in turn, engage others to join the movement to end hunger. In America, many citizens deal with inadequate access to food and proper nutrition. Benefits.gov wants you to know that we house information on government benefits that can help you and your family get access to plentiful and nutritious food options.

Benefits.gov houses a number of special food programs on behalf of our Partner, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Many USDA programs are specific to your state, but the requirements are generally similar. Check out some of USDA’s programs listed below:

  1. The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP): Formerly known as the ‘Food Stamp Program’, SNAP is the largest food and nutrition program in the United States. SNAP works with state agencies, nutrition educators, and community organizations to help low-income individuals and families buy nutritious food and educate them on healthy food habits and choices. This program provides residents with an electronic card, similar to an ATM card, to buy groceries at most stores and some farmers markets. There’s also a special SNAP program specifically for women, infants and children, where beneficiaries can receive food, breastfeeding support and education as well as access to health and social services at no cost. Those who are eligible for this program include low-income pregnant or post-partum women, as well as infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.
  2. School Breakfast and Lunch Program: This program provides cash assistance to states to operate nonprofit breakfast and lunch programs in schools and childcare institutions. Your child may be eligible to receive free or reduced breakfast and lunch where offered. Ask your child’s school or daycare if they offer this program. They may offer the Special Milk Program, which provides milk to schools and childcare institutions that don’t participate in other Federal meal service programs.
  3. Summer Food Service Program: This program helps low-income children continue to receive free, healthy meals when they’re not in school. At certain sites, such as summer camps, free or sometimes reduced-cost meals and other benefits are available to children from low-income families. Children who participate in SNAP, Head Start, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or are homeless, are automatically eligible for free meals.

Benefits.gov also has benefits for those who create food for others, such as farmers. These benefits include loan and grant programs, such as the Farm Operating Loan Program, the Farm Ownership Loan Program, and the Farm Labor Housing Loans and Grant Program. These programs provide assistance with managing farmland, developing farms, and building or repairing housing for farm laborers. Check out the Agriculture Loans category for similar programs.

We can end hunger in our lifetime. Share these resources with your friends and family and join the fight to help end hunger by volunteering your time at a local homeless shelter or donating food to a local food pantry. Visit StopHungerNow.org to learn the facts of hunger to help make a difference. Check out the Food and Nutrition category on Benefits.gov to learn about other government benefits and assistance programs.