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Boost your Budget with Help from a Food Program!


The following post was written by guest blogger Vanna Valdez, Benefits Outreach Worker, NYC Hunger Free Communities Consortium.

The New York City Hunger Free Communities Consortium (NYCHFCC) is a collaboration of New York City’s leading anti-hunger, nutrition, and aging organizations (AARP Foundation, City Harvest, Council of Senior Centers and Services of NYC, Food Bank for NYC, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, NYC Coalition Against Hunger, NYC Department for the Aging, Public Health Solutions, and United Way of New York City). This project works towards the creation of a hunger free New York City, with a particular focus on aiding the especially vulnerable populations of households with children, the working poor, and senior citizens.

Food Stamps

If you need help buying food, you are far from alone. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers are reaching out for help in this tough economy. For them, the Food Stamp Program (also known as SNAP) is a simple dependable way to buy food in times like this.

Many New Yorkers are eligible for Food Stamps:

  • Those who are working. Many low-income working people think that because they work, they cannot be eligible, but many are.
  • Those 60 years of age or older: If you live in a household with people 60 years of age or older, you may be eligible even if you have a higher income.
  • Those who are unemployed. Food Stamps can help you get by between jobs.
  • People with disabilities: You may qualify for food Stamps even if you receive SSI/disability benefits.
  • Immigrants: Many immigrants who were not eligible before can now get Food Stamps. If you are an immigrant who is not eligible, you can still apply on behalf of your eligible children. Applying will not affect your immigration status.

Senior Programs

Congregate Meals
Senior Centers are open to all older adults aged 60 and over, and offer health and wellness, social, and educational programming along with at least one nutritious meal (usually lunch) during the week. There are over 200 senior centers in New York City. Call 311 for more information.

Meals on Wheels
If you are unable to get to a senior center, case management agencies provide access to home-delivered meals, home care attendants, benefits applications, chore services, and other in-home supportive services. Call 311 for more information.


Food Assistance Programs

If there are times that you don’t have enough food for yourself and your family, even if you are receiving other assistance, one of over 1,100 food pantries and soup kitchens in New York City may be able to help. Food pantries provide emergency food that can be prepared at home. Soup kitchens serve meals on-site. Most of these programs are operated by not-for-profit, community or faith based organizations.

WIC (Women, Infants, and Children)

WIC (The Women, Infants, and Children Supplemental Food Program) provides nutritious foods, nutrition education, and referrals to health and other social services to participatants at no charge. WIC Offers:

  • Food vouchers
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Breastfeeding counseling
  • Food preparation, and recipes
  • Physical fitness activities

WIC serves low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, and infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk. If you live in New York State, HFCC can help you determine your eligibility for the WIC program. Your household income must be within the federal income guidelines for the program but, if you already receive food stamps, Medicaid or TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), you automatically qualify. You do not need to provide proof of U.S. citizenship to apply.

School Breakfast Program

For children, eating breakfast regularly can boost test scores, improve concentration, and enhance learning among other rewarding effects. When schools participate in school breakfast programs such as Breakfast in the Classroom or Grab and Go breakfast, students eat a healthy and nutritious breakfast regularly. Only 24% of New York City public school students currently participate in the school breakfast program. All students are eligible for a nutritious and delicious breakfast that is convenient and a bargain! Breakfast is free to all students. To learn how your child’s school can start a Breakfast in the Classroom Program, call 1-855-692-HFCC (1-855-692-4322) email Representatives speaking the following languages are available: English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole and Russian. 



How Do I Apply?

If you are interested in finding out if you qualify for benefits or to find a senior center or food program near you, please call: 1-855-692-HFCC (1-855-692-4322) or email If your organization is interested in participating in this project, please call Vanna Valdez at 212-825-0028 x232, Marie Vincent at x220, or Xuya Fang at x205. There will be opportunities to participate on various levels, including but not limited to: receiving outreach materials to distribute to your client population hosting representatives from project partners to perform on-site pre-screenings and/or application assistance having your own staff/volunteers trained to do benefits outreach & pre-screening.

Visit us at our website This project, in partnership with United Way of New York City, has been funded at least in part with federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The contents of this blog post do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


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