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What to Do When Food is Running Low

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Parent Handouts and Info - Parent


Handout for Parents about What to Do When Food is Running Low


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Infancy (<1), Toddlerhood (1-3), Preschool/Kindergarten (3-5), School Age (6-12), Adolescence (13-21), Adulthood (22+)

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What to Do When Food is Running Low

What to Do When Food is Running Low

Many families find it hard to put food on the table from time to time. You may not have enough to eat for dinner or have nothing to pack for lunch. Sometimes parents end up going without the food they need in order to feed their children. It is scary when food is low and there is not enough money to buy more. There are steps you can take to get help with food running low. You and your children do not have to go without the food you need. There are places that can help. Read below about programs that can help when food is running low.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP):

  • SNAP is a government program that gives qualifying people a debit card with a certain amount of money on it each month for food.
  • Cards are often referred to as "food stamps" even though stamps are not used anymore.
  • Eligibility for SNAP is based on income.
  • For more information and to see if you are eligible call 1-800-332-6347 or go to

The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program:

  • WIC is a government program for pregnant women and children under age 5.
  • WIC helps parents get nutritious foods; like milk, cereal, fruit, and eggs.
  • WIC also helps breastfeeding women and women may be able to get a breast pump.
  • WIC can provide formula for formula fed infants.
  • WIC provides information about the nutrition growing children and mothers need.
  • Eligibility for WIC is largely based on income
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  • To learn more about WIC, and to see if you are eligible, call 1-800-242-4WIC or go to

Free or reduced lunch:

  • Public and non-profit private schools can participate in a government program called the National School Lunch Program.
  • Under this program, some children qualify for a free lunch and some children qualify for a reduced lunch (at a cost of 40 cents).
  • Schools participating in this program are required to provide nutritious food, not junk food.
  • In addition to lunch, some schools also provide breakfast.
  • The school counselor at your child's school should have information about free or reduced lunch. You should also receive an application at the beginning of the school year for free or reduced lunch.
  • If you receive SNAP (food stamps), you automatically qualify for free or reduced lunch.
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  • For more information, go to

Non-government food programs:

  • There are places you can go when low on food that are not run by the government.
  • Some places include food pantries or free stores; sometimes churches or other non-profit groups run these programs.
  • A great way to find programs like these is to go to or call 1-800-771-2303. If you are a member of a church, your church leader may also have information about programs that help get people the food they need.

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