Food programs are available to help you and your baby. Sources of free food include Women, Infants and Children, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Federal State and County Food Programs, state and local food banks, plus free food from local churches and organizations.
Federal, state and local governments provide many programs designed to help meet the nutritional needs of people with low incomes and their families.
For a list of Federal and state programs that help with food and nutrition, please visit the link Child Nutrition Programs.
Programs include the Child and Adult Care Food Program and National School Lunch Program as well as the National School Breakfast Program, the Summer Food Service Program and the Emergency Food Assistance Program. For more information about these programs contact your local child welfare program, state Health Department or Department of Education.
Other programs include Food Banks and Food Stamps. Food Banks offer free food. To receive food stamps, you and the other people in your household must meet certain conditions. Most able-bodied people between the ages of 18 and 60 must register for work to qualify for food stamps. Many people may be required to participate in an employment or training program. Some college students also may be eligible.
Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides free nutritious foods, nutrition counseling, and
referrals to health and other social services to people who qualify. WIC serves low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, and infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk.
The program is available in all 50 States, 33 Indian Tribal Organizations, America Samoa, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Pregnant or postpartum women, infants, and children up to age 5 are eligible. You must meet income guidelines and a state residency requirement.
WIC participants typically receive vouchers to purchase specific foods each month that are designed to supplement their diets. The foods provided are high in protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. WIC foods include iron-fortified infant formula and infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, dried beans/peas, tuna fish and carrots. Special therapeutic infant formulas and medical foods are provided when prescribed by a physician for a specified medical condition.
The WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), established in 1992, provides additional coupons to WIC participants that they can use to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at participating farmers' markets.
For more information click on the link Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and you can contact the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Public Information Staff at 703-305-2286. Also, visit the links WIC agencies serving participants in your area and How to Apply to Participate in WIC.
Several other food distribution programs give commodities to needy households or to organizations that provide meal service including soup kitchens, churches and homeless shelters. These can frequently be found in the blue pages of your local phone directory.
For more information visit SocialSecurity.gov or call toll-free, 1-800-772-1213.
Make sure to contact local places of worship and ask for help. In your yellow pages, on the internet, or from telephone information, get in touch with your local food bank.
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