August 12, 2022
Need support with food? Help Me Grow Washington can help!
Having access to nutritious food is important for you and your family, and can help your child’s development and their success as they return to school. Unfortunately, food insecurity remains high in our state, with low income being the primary driver. According to a University of Washington report, the rates of people considered “very food insecure” were highest among people of color, specifically 31% for the state’s Black population and 36% for the Latinx population. The study also found that 27% of families with children and 29% of veterans in Washington were “very food insecure.”
WithinReach understands that this might be a difficult and uncertain time for families and individuals who are food insecure. However, we’re here to provide you support as you navigate food and nutrition programs for your family. Our Help Me Grow Washington Family Resource Navigators are here to connect you to programs and resources that will help your family get the food they need.
Check out this list of food programs, resources and benefits you can access all year long:
Basic Food, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, helps families and individuals buy groceries each month using an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. Monthly benefits can be spent in participating grocery stores and are based on your income, living expenses and how many people buy, share and prepare food in your household. Those on Basic Food may qualify for incentive programs, like low-cost local phone service, free or reduced school meal programs and much more.
To learn more about Basic Food, to see if you qualify, or if you would like assistance filling out the enrollment form, please call our Help Me Grow Washington Hotline at 1-800-322-2588 or apply online at www.washingtonconnection.org.
SNAP Match Programs
The SNAP Match Programs include the SNAP Market Match at farmers markets and SNAP Produce Match at grocery stores. These programs can help increase your food benefits, so you can purchase more fruits and vegetables. Customers who use SNAP/EBT benefits can shop at more than 100 participating farmers markets and farm stands and more than 200 grocery stores across Washington State.
The Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program
The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program serves individuals who are pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding and children up to 5 years old who are at or below 185% of the federal poverty level. WIC helps provide families with healthy foods, as well as other services such as nutrition education, breastfeeding support and health screenings and referrals.
WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program
The Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) aims to provide healthy, unprocessed, locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables and cut herbs to families receiving WIC. The FMNP season runs through October 31. All women and children certified to receive WIC program benefits are eligible for WIC FMNP and can receive FMNP checks from participating local WIC clinics.
To learn more about Farmers Market checks, ask WIC staff or call your local WIC clinic.
Free or Reduced Meal Program
Schools send school meal applications home at the beginning of each school year. However, families may apply for school meals any time during the school year by submitting an application directly to their school or district. There are many good reasons for you to enroll, including eligibility for other school-based benefits and programs, such as direct eligibility for Pandemic-EBT.
To learn more or enroll in the Free or Reduced Meal program, visit the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s website. Or, call our Help Me Grow Washington Hotline at 1-800-322-2588 to receive basic information and education on what you need to enroll.
Summer Food Service Program
The Summer Food Service Program, also known as the Summer Meals Program, provides free and nutritious meals to children 18 and younger during the summer months when school is not in session. This program helps children maintain a nutritious diet and helps families stretch their food dollars during the summer. Program sites are offered in many locations, such as schools, parks, playgrounds, housing authorities, day camps, churches and community centers. Often the meal service is combined with learning and recreational activities for children.
Summer Meals sites operate through the end of August. It is best to check specific sites for information and dates. Use the Summer Meals Site Finder to find a site near you.
Do you and your family need help connecting to these or other resources? Please call our Help Me Grow Washington Hotline at 1-800-322-2588 to learn more about food assistance, health and social service resources.