September 18, 2014

Elyria
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Food Assistance Program Outreach Underway in Lorain County

In Lorain County The Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio, in joint partnership with The Lorain County Office on Aging, currently has a Food Assistance Program Outreach project underway to increase community awareness and participation by seniors in the Ohio Food Assistance Program.

The Food Assistance Program, once known as Food Stamps, is a federally funded nutrition assistance program that helps those with low-income buy healthy foods to put on their table. Food Assistance benefits can help to supplement the food budgets of those who are having a difficult time paying for food. The Food Assistance Program is the name used for the program in Ohio, but nationally it is known as SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP is administered by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). According to the USDA only 34% of eligible seniors aged 60+ are currently enrolled in this vital program, which provides essential food and nutritional benefits to people in need.

In these difficult economic times, everything seems to cost more and there’s less money for everything, including food. As health care, food and energy costs have continued to rise in recent years, older Americans, especially those living on fixed incomes, are increasingly finding their resources stretched thin. This financial strain often means having to choose between paying for medicine and buying groceries. The Food Assistance Program can help those who qualify.

Ohio Food Assistance Program eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis, but generally income for a household must be at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level to qualify. This means gross monthly income for a single person household would not exceed $1,174 to qualify or exceed $1,579 for a two person household. Household expenses such as rent or mortgage, utilities and medical costs are also taken into account to determine potential eligibility.

Food Assistance Program Outreach Coordinator, Marcia Kubach, is available to talk to Lorain County seniors interested in learning about the program. Marcia is a trained Ohio Benefit Bank community counselor, who can pre-screen seniors for potential eligibility and file Food Assistance program applications for them through The Ohio Benefit Bank. Marcia can be reached at The Lorain County Office on Aging at 440-326-4825 (direct line) or at 440-326-4800 (main office) or by email at mkubach@secondharvestfoodbank.org.

Article submitted by Marcia Kubach, Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio Food Assistance Program Outreach Coordinator.