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From food pantries at our Family Support Centers, to monthly mobile food distributions and our Kids’ Summer Food program – Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas offers multiple opportunities for individuals and families in need to receive healthy food. Catholic Charities also assists clients who need additional help to supplement their grocery budget through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  

SNAP is a lifeline for millions of low-income individuals, families and seniors across the United States. The program addresses food insecurity by providing eligible individuals with financial assistance for purchasing food items. 

“As part of our food pantry intake process, clients are informed about SNAP and offered assistance if they have interest in applying for benefits. We know that those living in poverty and many slightly above the federal poverty level are eligible for SNAP but have not applied for the food benefits before,” said Tom Farmer, Director of Grant Proposals & Relations.

The program works by providing eligible individuals a benefit card (similar to a debit card) that allows them to purchase a wide variety of nutritional food items. From fresh produce to dairy products, meats, poultry, fish and other pantry staples, SNAP empowers recipients to make nutritious food choices for themselves and their families. Benefits cards may be used at traditional grocery stores and at farmers’ markets. They can also be used to purchase plants and seeds so that recipients can grow their own vegetables and fruits at home.

Eligibility for the program is determined based on factors such as income, monthly expenses and household size. The program is not only for those who are unemployed; many working individuals and families with low incomes and seniors 60+ with disabilities may also qualify for assistance. Catholic Charities helps simplify the process, recognizing that the program can be complex to understand and enroll in. 

“Because three-quarters of our service area is rural, where physical access to social services and related supports is often limited or nonexistent, we subscribe to the online SNAP-eligibility screening and application service, Johnnie, to not only connect us electronically with prospective SNAP recipients but also to help us schedule case management, assist clients throughout the application process, and communicate with them via video chat, text and email,” said Farmer. “mRelief, the organization that created and maintains Johnnie, pays for advertising via Facebook and Google in Kansas, substantially increasing outreach to prospective SNAP recipients,” he added.

This year, the Catholic Charities Foundation of Northeast Kansas received a generous $20,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation and Catholic Charities USA to raise awareness of the program and help individuals in need with enrollment. This is the seventh consecutive year that Catholic Charities has been awarded the grant.

If you are interested in learning more about SNAP or would like to know if you are eligible to enroll in the program, click here.

Sources: Kansas Department for Children and Families and U.S.D.A. Food and Nutrition Service

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