The NJ Department of Human Services has kicked off a holiday drive to expand participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Also known as food stamps, this federal program is the nation’s first line of defense against hunger. Yet only three-quarters of eligible New Jersey residents are enrolled.
About 865,000 New Jersey residents face hunger, including more than 260,000 children and 200,000 older residents.
“This Thanksgiving season, NJ Human Services is pleased to join with community organizations across the state to get the word out about NJ SNAP,’’ she added. “If you or someone you know regularly struggles to afford food, we urge you to visit njsnap.gov to learn more about how NJ SNAP can help.”
As part of the effort, Governor Phil Murphy has declared NJ SNAP Awareness Week in New Jersey from November 10 through 16 to encourage residents struggling with hunger or food insecurity to learn more about SNAP.
In New Jersey, individuals and families with incomes up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level — $23,017 for an individual and $39,461 for a family of three — may be eligible for SNAP, depending on their assets and other expenses. An individual can be eligible for as much as $194 per month and a family of three can be eligible for as much as $509 per month, depending on assets and expenses.
Today, nearly 700,000 New Jersey residents rely on NJ SNAP for help buying groceries. About 6,000 grocers, community markets, bodegas, farmer’s markets and other food retailers in New Jersey participate in NJ SNAP, generating approximately $1 billion annually in revenue for these New Jersey businesses.
Individuals can learn more about NJ SNAP and apply at njsnap.gov or by visiting their county board of social services.
“No family should have to choose between paying their bills and eating a nutritious meal,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, who has made fighting hunger a top priority. “In 2017, one in every 11 New Jersey residents was a recipient of SNAP benefits. Not only does this demonstrate the program works, but it shows that with expansion it’s a program with potential for even greater reach.”
NJ Human Services is working with county boards of social services, community food pantries and food banks, grocers, the faith community and community organizations to get the word out about how NJ SNAP can help fight hunger.
“SNAP is the nation’s first line of defense against hunger,’’ said Adele LaTourette, director of Hunger Free New Jersey. “In New Jersey, roughly three-quarters of eligible residents receive this critical nutrition aid, so there is room for growth. We applaud and support the department’s efforts to spread the word about SNAP, giving New Jersey residents healthy food to eat, every single day.’’
“NJ SNAP is making a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans,” said Assistant Commissioner Natasha Johnson, who directs Human Services’ Division of Family Development. “During this holiday season and throughout the year, we will continue to work with our county partners to help residents learn more about how NJ SNAP can help their families.”
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