Food Assistance

Produced by an AmeriCorps Project of Western Massachusetts Legal Services updated and revised Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Last Updated October, 2009

SNAP/Food Stamps

You can apply for SNAP/Food Stamps online or at your local DTA office. You can use SNAP/Food Stamps to buy food at supermarkets, grocery stores, and some restaurants and senior meal programs. The amount of SNAP/Food Stamps you get depends on how many people are in your house, how much money you have coming in, your housing or shelter costs, and child care costs. If you are a senior or you have a disability, your medical expenses will also be taken into account. Read about Basic SNAP/Food Stamp Rights.

See Applying to DTA for information about applying for SNAP/Food Stamps. See Appealing denials for information about what to do if you apply and DTA tells you that you cannot get benefits.

Call Project Bread's FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333.

The Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC)

WIC gives vouchers for nutritional foods to low-income pregnant women and children under five. You can use WIC checks for food like milk, cheese, eggs, tuna, iron-fortified cereal, peanut butter, infant formula, carrots, beans, and vitamin C-rich juices. You can also get nutrition counseling, health screenings, and referrals to other benefit programs. Go online to find out where you can apply or call Massachusetts WIC toll-free at 1-800-942-1007.

Surplus Food Giveaways

The U.S. Government buys extra food like peanut butter, canned goods, and cheese from farmers and then gives it away to local food pantries and Community Action Programs. Check the Community Service Guide in the first few pages of your phone book, or call Project Bread's FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333 (phone) or 1-800-377-1292 (TTY) to find out where to get these foods.

Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens

Most towns and cities have a food pantry that gives away free food at certain time of the month. They also have soup kitchens or other places where you can go with your family to get hot meals. Check the Community Service Guide in the first few pages of the phone book, or look at the Project Bread resource guide to find out where to get food in your city or town.

The SHARE Program

You can get packages of food including meats, fresh vegetables, fruits, and cereals from Share for $15. Share also asks you to give them two hours of your time for community service or help with putting together food packs. You should be able to find a SHARE program by asking your local Community Action Program.

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