As temperatures drop, heating costs rise. This added expense forces some people to make a very difficult choice: pay to keep their home at a safe temperature or buy the groceries they need to stay healthy. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly known as food stamps – can make it possible to do both.
SNAP is a monthly supplement that stretches food budgets and can free money up for other necessities, like utility bills. Monthly benefits are automatically deposited in participants’ accounts, and a special debit card is used to buy food from participating stores and farmers' markets.
The Nutrition Outreach and Education Program (NOEP) is a supportive, community-based program that provides one-on-one assistance with the SNAP application process. NOEP Coordinators offer free prescreenings to determine if a person may be eligible for SNAP, and can help eligible people gather documentation for, complete and submit the application. All services are free and confidential.
If you or someone you know is struggling to afford both heat and nutritious food, contact your local NOEP Coordinator at: (315) 255-1703 ext. 237.
Schneider is Cayuga County NOEP coordinator with Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency Inc.