August 26, 2021
Need support with food? WithinReach 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 Washington State; affecting one in three households with children and disproportionately impacting Black, Indigenous and communities of color. With the pandemic’s continued impact on food security, we understand the needs and challenges to accessing food assistance.
However, there are programs and resources to help your family get the food they need, and WithinReach can help you get connected to these benefits. Check out this list of food programs, resources and benefits you can access all year long:
Seamless Summer Option
Seamless Summer Option (SSO) is the USDA-approved nationwide waiver that allows schools who participate in the National School Lunch Program to continue serving meals free of charge to all students. Students, regardless of income, will continue to receive free, nutritious meals throughout the new school year (July 1, 2021 until June 30, 2022). The use of the waiver to operate SSO is available to all schools and schools/meal sites are responsible for applying for these waivers.
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 includes 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.
To learn more about SNAP Match Programs or to find participating locations, visit the Washington State Department of Health’s website or call our Help Me Grow Washington Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.
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.
To find out if you qualify, or to find a WIC clinic near you, call our Help Me Grow Washington Hotline at 1-800-322-2588, text “WIC” to 96859 or visit our ParentHelp123 Resource Finder.
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 and low-income seniors. 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. Due to SSO, it is not essential for families to complete the application this school year (2021-2022) to receive free meals. However, 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 info and education on what you need to enroll.
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.
Content Updated: 8/26/21