Share This Article
Governor Greg Abbott (R) announced Friday, September 2nd, that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is providing more than $344.9 million in emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits for September. The allotments are expected to help about 1.6 million Texas households. If you or your family needs help with food assistance, read for more information about the SNAP program and how to apply for benefits.
What is SNAP?
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as the Food Stamp Program, is the most extensive in the United States’ domestic hunger safety net. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers SNAP at the federal level through a partnership with state agencies. Medicaid also covers some costs related to administering SNAP benefits at the state level, including eligibility determinations and employment and training services associated with work requirements.
To be eligible for SNAP benefits, participants must meet specific criteria related to their income, resources, citizenship, and residence. Households that meet these criteria and have little or no income can receive assistance to stretch their food budgets, so they are better able to afford nutritious meals.
Eligible households receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which works like a debit card and can be used at most grocery stores to purchase food items approved by SNAP. Households can also use their EBT cards at some farmer’s markets to purchase eligible food items grown by local farmers.
If you are interested in applying for the SNAP benefits program, contact your state’s office or visit the SNAP website for more information.
How to Use Your Emergency SNAP Benefits
If you are one of the 1.6 million Texans who receive SNAP benefits, you may be wondering how you can use your benefits to stretch your dollar as far as possible. Here are a few tips:
Plan your meals: Before heading to the grocery store, take some time to plan out your meals for the week. This will help you list what you need and stick to it while shopping. Not sure what to make? Check out this recipe collection from Cooking Matters, which includes budget-friendly recipes you can make with ingredients typically found in a SNAP household’s pantry.
Buy in bulk: Buying items in bulk can often be cheaper than buying smaller quantities of the same item. This is especially true for non-perishable items like canned goods, cereal, pasta, rice, etc. That said, it’s important to ensure you have enough storage space for bulk items and that you will use everything before it goes bad. Shelf-stable items like peanut butter, canned soups and vegetables, whole grain bread, and frozen fruits and veggies are all excellent options for stockpiling your pantry.
Shop at farmers’ markets: In Texas, you can purchase food items at participating farmers’ markets using your SNAP benefits. This is a great way to get fresh, locally grown produce at a fraction of the cost. To find a farmers market near you, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Directory.
Take advantage of store sales and coupons: Another way to save money on groceries is to take advantage of store sales and coupons; if you see an item you typically buy on sale, stock up! And don’t forget to bring along any coupons you may have. Every little bit helps when you’re trying to stretch your SNAP benefits.
If you or someone you know needs assistance with food, don’t hesitate to reach out to your state’s SNAP office or 2-1-1 Texas for more information about how to apply for benefits. You may be eligible for assistance if you meet specific criteria related to your income, resources, citizenship, and residence.