Healthy food serves as the foundation for the development of healthy minds and bodies, and yet many families struggle to cover the cost of this most basic need. In the recent ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) in Focus Report, it highlights that 32% of ALICE families stated that sometimes or often “children were not eating enough because we just couldn’t afford enough food”.
There are resources to help ensure access to healthy food, and it’s important for families to understand their options. The report noted that while there are programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that are available to assist, many who are eligible are not yet participating. SNAP provides eligible families support to purchase nutritious food to keep families healthy. It is important to ensure families are informed and supported to apply for this benefit. Families who qualify for SNAP are also qualified for the USDA's National School Lunch Program which helps provide meals to children at school for free or at a low cost.
Many other families are also able to access free and reduced-priced school meals for their children through an application at their child’s school. Throughout the past two school years, the USDA waived the application process and many schools provided free meals to all children to support families through the pandemic. As the new school year begins, many schools are returning to the application-based process, and it is important for all families to complete their school’s application.
Completion of the application not only ensures eligible students receive the support they need but also provides pivotal community information that supports schools in receiving additional resources that benefit the school community.
To learn more about these important benefits or to see if you or someone you know may be eligible:
- Visit the SNAP program page on findhelpidaho.org
- Check with your local school district about free and reduced meal applications
Search for food resources in your zip code at findhelpidaho.org.