Health care professionals can promote participation in Safety Net programs by speaking positively about food assistance and federal programs and referring children to these resources.
- The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) is America’s largest and most comprehensive first line of defense against hunger. The Food Stamp Program infuses millions of federal dollars into states each year, benefiting low-income households, local retailers, and local economies. Food benefits are issued through electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards, to purchase non-prepared foods.
- The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is the premier public health nutrition program designed to reach families most in need of preventive health services. WIC services includes growth and health assessments, education on nutrition and physical activity, breastfeeding education/support, referrals to other preventative health services and nutritious foods for pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under age 5.
- The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides nutritious meals and snacks to children and adults who receive daycare or participate in after-school programs and for children in homeless shelters. Head Start and Early Head Start participate in the CACFP program.
- Summer Food Service Programs provide nutritious breakfasts, lunches and snacks for children in lower-income areas during long school vacations
- Hunger relief programs include food banks, food pantries, community kitchens, and meal sites. These programs provide hunger relief by distributing commodity, gleaned, recovered, and donated food. Feeding America is the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the US.
Other Safety Net programs can help households pay for basic, non-food needs such as housing and utilities:
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) provides cash assistance to families with children. TANF benefits are associated with improved health in young children and greater food security in their households (C-SNAP)
Learn about Oregon’s Safety Net programs and other resources for your patients.