Skip to main content

Food Assistance

Help us build the next

Check out the new version of this page on our future website. We want to know what you think.

Immediate Food Assistance

If you’re hungry now:

  • Call 211 to find agencies and community organizations that can assist you with finding food in an emergency.
  • Call the USDA National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273). Information is available in English and Spanish. The hotline operates Monday through Friday, 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM Eastern Time.
  • Contact community or religious organizations to find a local food bank or food pantry.

Food Stamps (SNAP Food Benefits)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal nutrition program. Known previously as "food stamps," SNAP benefits can help you stretch your food budget if you have a low income.

Learn About the Types of Food You Can Buy With SNAP Benefits

If you’re eligible, you can purchase food using benefits that are issued to you monthly. You can use your SNAP benefits to buy a variety of foods for your household, including:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Dairy products
  • Breads and cereals
  • Snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Seeds and plants

See the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) list of foods and products you can buy using SNAP benefits.

Find Out If You Are Eligible for SNAP

To determine if you are eligible for SNAP benefits, you must meet certain requirements. States have income limits for SNAP recipients. They can also factor in your resources, such as money in the bank, to decide if you qualify for SNAP.  

Apply for SNAP Benefits

Use the online map to apply for SNAP and to find your state and local offices and phone numbers. You may also apply in person at your state or local office.

How Your SNAP Benefits Work

File a Complaint About SNAP

Whether you currently receive SNAP benefits or you're in the process of applying, you can file a complaint using these resources:

SNAP Information For Retailers

Learn how to work with SNAP if you are a retailer or if you operate a farmers market.

Food Stamps and Meal Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The additional SNAP (food stamp) benefits your state provided during the COVID-19 pandemic have now ended. 

Learn about other food assistance programs that can supply food on an emergency basis or help you pay for food each month.

WIC Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children

This short-term program can help you get healthy food for yourself and your young children.

Learn About the WIC Program

Many low-income women and young children can get healthy food to add to their diet. It’s available through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). WIC also offers nutrition counseling and referrals to health, welfare, and social services.

Find Out If You or Your Children Are Eligible for the WIC Program

  • If you’re applying for yourself, you must be at least one of the following:

    • Pregnant

    • Breastfeeding (up to the baby's first birthday)

    • Within six months of having given birth or pregnancy ending

  • If you’re applying for your children, they must be under 5 years old.

  • You must meet other WIC eligibility requirements based on your income, your health, and where you live.

Apply for the WIC Program

Contact your state or local WIC agency for an appointment. When you call, someone will tell you where to apply and what to bring with you.

Learn More About the WIC Program

Your agency may not have enough money to serve everyone who needs WIC. In that case, it will maintain a waiting list and use a priority system to decide who will get WIC benefits first.

For more information and help applying, contact your state or local WIC agency. You can also call its toll-free number.

Free School Meals for Children

These programs can help you get healthy meals for your children at their school, childcare center, or after-school program.

Learn About School Meal Programs

Children from qualified households with a low income can get healthy meals or milk.

Find Out If Your Children Are Eligible for School Meal Programs 

Your children automatically qualify for free meals or milk if:

  • They are foster children under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court

Your children may qualify if your household income is within the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines. These guidelines are based on federal poverty guidelines.

  • If your income is no more than 130 percent of the poverty level, they should qualify for free meals.

  • If your income is no more than 185 percent of the poverty level, they should qualify for reduced-price meals.

The summer food service program is open to all children and teens 18 and under at locations around the country. Find a site near you.

Learn How to Apply for School Meal Programs for Your Children

Submit an application from the school. You can do this at the beginning of the school year or at any time if circumstances change.

Learn How to Get Help or File a Complaint About School Meal Programs

Contact your local school or school district for more information.

Free Food Programs for Seniors

Two federally-sponsored programs aim to get nutritious foods to seniors with a low income.

Learn About State Food Programs for Seniors

Most states offer these programs for seniors with a low income:

Find Out If You're Eligible for State Food Programs for Seniors

You may be eligible if you're:

Learn How to Apply to State Food Programs for Seniors

Select your state or territory and the nutrition program you want to apply for using these search filters.

If either program is not on the list, you may not live in an area that offers the program.

Other Food Programs 

You may qualify for other programs like:

Check with your senior community center to learn about other local resources.

D-SNAP Helps With Food Costs After a Declared Disaster

If the president authorizes individual disaster assistance for your area, you may qualify for D-SNAP

Learn About D-SNAP 

The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is also called food stamps for disaster situations. D-SNAP provides one month of benefits on a debit-type card that you can use at most grocery stores.

  • Once your state sets up a D-SNAP program, you have about a week to apply.

  • If you qualify, you will receive benefits within three days.

Find Out If You Qualify for D-SNAP

You may qualify for D-SNAP if you live where:

You may qualify for D-SNAP even if you would not qualify for regular SNAP (food stamps) because:

  • You're out of work or have reduced or delayed income due to the disaster

  • You're facing costly home repairs or temporary shelter expenses

If you already receive SNAP, you can apply for D-SNAP if you do not get the most allowable under SNAP and have disaster-related losses.

As a separate benefit, you may be able to get free meals for your children or your entire family. School meals programs provide these meals.

Apply for D-SNAP

Contact your local SNAP office to apply for D-SNAP or find application sites throughout the affected disaster area. 

Share This Page:

Do you have a question?

Ask a real person any government-related question for free. They'll get you the answer or let you know where to find it.

Last Updated: February 14, 2023