Guest Author - Maria Brown
If youíve fallen on hard times, you have tons of things to worry about. This is especially true if you have to provide for yourself and others like a spouse and/or children. The last thing you should have to worry about is where your next meal is going to come from. There are many programs that have been put in place to help make sure you and your family can eat. Here are a few options:
1. Apply for food stamps. Food stamps can help to subsidize your familyís monthly grocery bill. If you are approved, you receive a plastic card and a pin number. You take the card to your local grocery store, select your groceries and pay with your plastic card.
Each city/county is different as far as application processes however you almost always start out by contacting your local Social Services office. You can usually walk-in and fill out an application and then make an appointment to come back to have your application reviewed. Some areas even offer online applications. If you donít have an internet connection, you can visit your local library and surf for free.
2. Visit local food pantries. Many churches offer food pantries where you can come by on certain days of the week and get free food to cook. The food has usually been donated from the churchís members or other neighbors in the community. If you call some of the churches in your neighborhood, you can ask if they have a food pantry and if so what days and times is it open. In addition, Feeding America, offers an online database where you can find local food pantries, food banks and soup kitchens that you can get food from as well.
3. The WIC program. WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children. If you are pregnant or have children under the age of 5, and you have a demonstrated financial need, you should apply for the WIC program. The WIC programís goal is to provide healthy food to pregnant women and children up to the age of 5. You can get an application to the WIC program by calling your local social services office. You must also live in the state where you are applying. If you are approved, you will receive paper vouchers that you can use to purchase healthy food (for yourself if you are pregnant) and for your children (if they are under the age of 5). Some of the items that are approved are milk, cheese, certain cereals, beans and more.
You can find local food pantries in your area by visiting Feeding America.