FAQ

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What is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and how do I receive benefits?
The federal food stamp program is now known as SNAP. SNAP helps low-income families to buy nutritious food. These families get the Families First electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards that can be used at authorized food stores. The program is part of the federal food assistance program. It provides crucial support to low-income households and those moving from welfare to work. Your county board of social services administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

What is Women, Infants and Children (WIC)?
The Women, Infants and Children program helps protect the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk. WIC provides nutritious foods, information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care. Find your local WIC office.

What is The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)?
TEFAP is a program of the US Department of Agriculture. TEFAP provides commodity foods to local agencies, like food banks, which in turn provide food to soup kitchens and food pantries. People who receive TEFAP food must meet the criteria set by the state. Learn more about TEFAP.

What are school lunch and breakfast programs?
These USDA programs are found in schools and residential child care institutions. They provide nutritious, low-cost or free meals to children each school day. Contact your local school district for more information.

What is the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)?
The USDA Summer Food Service Program provides meals and snacks to children during the summer months. Locations where food is distributed may change from year-to-year and is announced as the school year draws to a close. Find a location near you.

What are the elderly food programs?
The most common elderly feeding program is the federally funded Nutrition Program for the Elderly. This program works through each county's Office on Aging. It provides meals served in group settings at locations in each county. It also provides home-delivered meals for homebound individuals, commonly referred to as Meals on Wheels. People age 62 or older without regard to income can participate. Contact your local senior center for information on other senior food programs in your area.

What are Emergency Food Providers (EFP)?

Emergency food providers give donated food items to people with limited income. The food is given out at shelters, soup kitchens, and food pantries. These programs are often run by private, non-profit community organizations. To find an emergency food provider in your area, use the search box on our home page.

What is a food bank?
A food bank solicits, receives, inventories, stores and distributes food and grocery products from various sources. A food bank may buy food using money provided by government agencies or grants or it may receive food donated by manufacturers, retailers, or individuals. The food bank makes sure that all the food it receives and distributes meets industry and regulatory standards. The food is given to organizations which provide the food directly to people with low income. For a complete listing of food banks in your area, use the search box on our home page.

What is a food pantry?
A food pantry is a non-profit organization that gets donated food items. The food pantry then gives the food to low income people; who prepare the food at home. For a complete listing of food pantries in your area, use the search box on our home page.

What is a soup kitchen?
A soup kitchen is a non-profit organization that gets donated food and serves prepared meals to people with low incomes. For a complete listing of soup kitchens in your area, use the search box on our home page.

Am I eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits?
You can use the SNAP screening tool to find out if you are eligible for food stamps. 

How do I find a food pantry or soup kitchen near my home?
This site was designed to help you find local resources easily. Go to our home page and fill in the blanks in our search bar and then click on the word "Search". You do not have to fill in all of the boxes to search for resources. Find transportation options in your area.

Are food pantries and soup kitchens open every day?
Each program has specific days and hours when they are open. You must call the food pantry or soup kitchen to find out when they are open. 

Do clients need to bring anything with them to the food pantry?
Most food pantries will require some form of identification such as a Social Security card, Public Assistance card, or picture I.D. Many pantries also require a referral letter from a social service agency such as the welfare or food stamp office, a community organization, or a place of worship to verify your need for food assistance.

How much food will clients receive?
Most pantries offer a 3 to 5 day supply of healthy food for a family. When possible, pantries provide special dietary items for those family members on restricted diets.

Why are so many people hungry in New Jersey?
Many people in New Jersey are hungry because housing, health care, fuel, and utility costs are high. Sudden illness, disabilities, low paying jobs, and fixed incomes make it difficult for many people to afford food.

How can I make a donation?
Food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens welcome the donation of non-perishable food, money, and volunteer time. For specific information on how to donate, contact the agency directly. Search our home page for a location near you.

What is food insecurity?
Many people in our state suffer with food insecurity. The availability of nutritionally adequate food is limited or uncertain. It is common for people in this situation to have to cut back on meals and/or food portions. They often live day-to-day not knowing the source of their next meal.

What is hunger?
The symptoms of hunger include discomfort, weakness, or pain caused by a prolonged lack of food. Many experts also contend that people who chronically suffer from inadequate nutritional intake due to low incomes, are hungry. Although these people do not experience discomfort, weakness, or pain they are hungry from a nutritional perspective. The long term effect of hunger is malnutrition.

What is malnutrition?
Malnutrition is a serious health impairment that results from substandard nutrient intake. Malnutrition may result from a lack of food, a chronic shortage of key nutrients, or impaired absorption and metabolism associated with chronic conditions or diseases.

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