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Food and Nutrition Programs

How can you achieve a nutritionally well balanced diet on a limited income? There are several possibilities. Food stamps are provided through the Erie County Board of Assistance to low income working and non-working families and individuals. Food stamps, now called SNAP, are credits put on an EBT card that can be used like money to buy most kinds of food. There is no fee for filing an application for food stamps, and if your application is denied, you may appeal the decision. In applying you will have to provide the County Assistance Office with proof of your income, your residence and your household status. However, food stamps can be a big help in stretching your income to meet your family's needs. The receipt of food stamps does not create any kind of lien against your real estate, including the home where you live, and so do not be afraid to apply for that reason.

In order to apply for food stamps, telephone 461-2000 or 1-800-635-1014 to request an application. If you are physically unable to travel, the County Assistance Office can make arrangements to take an application by telephone or through the mail. So, do not let mobility problems prevent you from applying. You can also apply online at

Children are growing individuals and especially need proper diets for maximum healthy growth. One way to obtain more and better food for your child is to make sure the child is enrolled in school breakfast and lunch programs that recognize the special needs of children. If your household receives food stamps, then your child/ren will receive free breakfast and lunch at school. In order to apply, contact the school district which your children attend and fill out an application. Of course, even if a child does not qualify for free meals, the child may still qualify for meals at a reduced price depending on income.

The Women, Infant and Children Program (also called WIC) is an income based supplemental nutrition program designed for pregnant women and children birth to 6 years of age. WIC is a voucher program through the Department of Health and is offered by many area agencies through Erie County. The vouchers are good for dairy, formula, iron fortified foods such as cereal, dry beans and juices. There are also farmers market vouchers in the summer for fresh produce. For more information, telephone 459-1948 Monday through Friday and ask for information about WIC.  3/11

If you need to consult with an attorney, please contact the Erie County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service.