There are many hungry people in the United States, which is a shame because there are billions of pounds of food wasted every year. This statistic alone makes it surprising that anyone in this country is going without food.

Another surprising statistic is:
“The average American Household has average expenditures of $56,000 per year with 62% of the money paying for housing, transportation, and food.”

That’s almost $60,000 per year going toward three areas, which doesn’t leave a lot of money for the other expenses that make living comfortable. There are many people in the U.S. that make much less than $56,000 per year and still must try to meet their basic needs.

Federal Food Assistance Programs

There are millions of children and adults that don’t get the food that they need to thrive. There are, however, federal food assistance programs that are in place to help families that can’t meet their nutritional needs. Those programs are:

For families with young children or infants:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Child Care and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

For families with older children or teenagers:

  • The National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
  • The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
  • The School Breakfast Program (SBP)

For individuals over the age of 60:

  • The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)

Other programs:

  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
Feeding America has a useful chart that breaks down each program and compares them so you know which applies to you or your children. You can then click the program you wish to apply for so you can move through the application process.

If you Need Immediate Food Assistance

If you’re in an emergency situation that requires immediate food assistance, you can call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479). Spanish-speaking individuals can call 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273). You can also find a local food bank here.

Don’t Stop at Just Food Assistance

When families are struggling to put food on the table, there are other basic needs not being met. The government offers other programs, such as Medicaid, that can help low-income individuals thrive until they get on their feet. Uncover the Top Federal Benefit Programs to see what help is available to you.