It's sometimes hard to decide to seek food assistance. But it's one of the smartest things you can do to get out of a financial jam. Grocery bills can be expensive, and saving a bit on them can mean the difference in making rent or not. Additionally, many of the places that you go to get food also have additional programs, all designed to help you get to and stay stable. It's like first aide for your wallet, the sooner you apply it, the better the outcome.
As nerve-wracking as this can be, the good news is the people that run food pantries and programs for vets care a lot! So many of us have been in the situation of needing a little help, and no one wants to leave their buddies behind.
A citizen with or without a family can apply. Single people that ARE able to work will have a few months of help, those with minor children can have a longer period on food stamps. (The average time on food stamps is 3 months- the vast majority of cases are not on SNAP long term. It's a leg up!)
Fast- Apply for SNAP as soon as something like a job-loss happens.
Choose- you get to buy most groceries from the grocery store.
Many programs, one app- You can apply for medicaid, TANF (For VERY low income parents with young kids), and a type of medicaid called QMB (this pays medicare co-pays for seniors)
Accountability- You must let them know when you have changes, such as moving or getting a new job.-
Paperwork- this one is actually not too bad! Don't let a form get between you & feeding yourself/your family
Denials- if you get denied- REAPPLY!!! Many times a denial is for a small reason, and there is NO penalty for reapplying.
Example 1- You were denied for failing to supply proof of citizenship (everyone has to prove this). Go reapply, take your birth certificate with you this time!
Example 2- You were denied for being over income- if you are disabled by the VA- did you show them your medical expenses? Were your rent and utilities properly counted?
Example 3- You were denied for having too much in savings (over resource). This may happen early on, but a week or two later/after bills, you might be tight on money, and you can go apply again.
Food Pantries- Did you know food pantries get their produce from local farmers? The food pantry program is part of the Dept. of Agriculture, and supports US farmers to feed those in need!
QUALIFICATIONS - Usually you need to live in their service area, and bring proof of that. Some have income requirements. Others just allow you to drive up and they put a bag of groceries in you car!
Bags of groceries for free.
Frequently they have local community programs that can help with rent, utility bills, child care and more!
Sometimes you have to wait in line
Pantries aren't open business hours,
You don't always get to choose your groceries
CONTACT - Find your local food pantries here: https://www.feedingtexas.org/
Meals on Wheels
QUALIFICATIONS - Be a senior or disabled invdividual, meet fin
PROS - Meals (sometimes groceries) delivered directly to you! Also can have other programs like minor home repair etc.. varies by area
CONS - Coverage can vary by area, especially rural. Sometimes has a waiting list. (If there is a waiting list, see opt. 4.)
Honor Veterans Now
QUALIFICATIONS - Be under 60 (or over 60 if Meals on Wheels has a waiting list in your area). Have honorable or general under honorable discharge, and have financial need.
PROS - They mail food to you, or partner with your local Meals on Wheels for them to deliver food to you. Aiming for 5-7 meals a week to start, from 3-6months to ongoing.
CONS - Age Restriction- it's best to go through the 3 channels above if you are over 60- there are more programs out there for you!
CONTACT - https://honorveteransnow.org/get-help/