Food assistance programs aim to offer assistance to families who are struggling to get by and cannot always afford nutritious foods. Of course, some of these services offer other benefits like nutrition education or work programs to help guide families towards financial independence. All of these South Carolina food assistance programs will require that applicants are of a certain income and need level in order to receive benefits. There are many different programs available to struggling families that need help. Many of them are addressed specifically toward identified and vulnerable populations who face food insecurity in greater numbers. For instance, there is a program for women and young children specifically, and another program is aimed towards providing help to just children who are enrolled in public education. The following offers more information on the various food assistance programs available in South Carolina to qualified applicants.
South Carolina Family Independence (TANF)
The Family Independence Program, more commonly referred to as TANF, is a program that aims to provide temporary cash assistance to needy families. This program will ease some of the financial burden experienced by the household which in turn allows money to go towards bills or other expenses. Other than cash assistance, Family Independence has four main goals: provide financial assistance to help keep families with children in the home, decrease parental dependency through job training courses, encourage the continuity of two-parent households and reduce the number of out of wedlock pregnancies. In order to be eligible for this program, applicants must be legal citizens of the United States, a resident of the state and have very low income. Additional requirements for approved beneficiaries is to show up to every required job training program, meeting and fulfill all weekly work hour quotas.
South Carolina Women, Infant and Children’s (WIC) Program
WIC is offered to women who are pregnant or caring for young children. This program provides benefits to women in order to help pay for essential foods needed for prenatal and postnatal health. WIC has services such as monthly checks for healthy foods, breastfeeding support, medical referrals and personalized nutrition support and education. The premise behind WIC is to offer aid to women and young children who are from lower income situations in order to provide help and education about nutrition. In order to qualify for this program, an applicant must be pregnant, postpartum and breast feeding or have a child under the age of five deemed to be at nutritional risk. Additional requirements include all applicants be below the federal poverty level cutoff line. This program can be combined with other government programs.
South Carolina Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
SNAP is one of the most common food assistance programs offered. This program provides assistance to needy families so they can buy nutritious foods. Benefits are provided on an EBT card, which works just like an ATM card. This program does not cover all food costs, but it does help lessen the burden of shopping at the grocery store on a budget. If an applicant is looking to apply to this program, there are a few requirements to keep in mind, such as income and household requirements. Any household applying must be considered low income by the state. If a household has any elderly or disabled members, the chances of being considered for benefits will increase.
South Carolina Summer Food Service Program
For many children, school is a means for a guaranteed nutritional lunch and breakfast. Recognizing that many needy children are left without a source for regular, healthy meals over the summer, the government implements the summer food service program. This program provides free lunches to qualified children over the summer at select locations. In order to qualify for this program, families must be able to prove a household’s income is far below the federal poverty level cutoff. Usually if a child already receives free or reduced lunch, he or she is qualified for the summer food service program. Any child over the age of 18 will not be eligible.
South Carolina National Breakfast Program (NBP)
This program will provide adequate nutritional breakfasts to children for little to no cost. Depending on the financial need of a household, a child may be able to receive free breakfast rather than reduced breakfast. Children who are considered for this program must be from low income families. Families that are already receiving other benefits from TANF, SNAP or WIC will automatically be eligible for this program.
South Carolina National Lunch Program (NLP)
The South Carolina National Lunch Program works much like the National Breakfast Program. This program will offer eligible children lunch for free or reduced prices. The children who are eligible for this program must be from a low income family and a resident of the state of South Carolina. Similar to the National Breakfast Program, if a child’s household is receiving government assistance from other programs like SNAP, TANF or WIC, the household will also be automatically eligible for this program.