SNAP application no longer required for free student meals in Georgia schools

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – More than 46 percent of households who utilize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have children. This 2021-2022 school year, families in Georgia looking for relief will receive some extra help.

“I think the community recognizes that hunger was probably one of the biggest issues with food insecurity during the pandemic. Last year we provided over 27 million pounds of food to Coastal Georgia and over a million meals through the Kids Cafe program,” Mary Jane Crouch, the chief executive for America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia, explained.

More than a year after Second Harvest started their emergency food distributions, they said they still consistently get people coming to them for help.

Crouch said the stories are endless, and every community is filled with people going hungry: “Grandparents that are raising children that they just don’t have that kind of money to buy that food for their grandchildren, or the single mother or father who can’t make that money stretch.”

Rising grocery store prices and supply chain disruptions are increasing the number of people now grappling with how they’re going to get their next meal.

“I think the last time I looked at food cost it was like a ten percent increase over the last year and there’s still a lot of things that you can’t get,” Crouch said, as she described how the cheaper generic brand goods are now flying off the shelves leaving families with fewer choices and higher shopping receipts.

Students around Georgia will get additional help this fall, including those in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System. Breakfast and lunch will now be available to students without parents having to fill out a SNAP meal application for the 2021-2022 school year.

America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia is also continuing their Grab and Go meal program for families, shifting the meal distribution times to after school to help make up the difference for families seeking additional help.

Crouch said the fight to end hunger will continue to be a communal responsibility: “It’s not just one person that’s going to make this happen — it’s all of us. There is no reason that any person in this great United States is hungry.”

The food bank’s food pantry program they started in 2020 will be implemented again during the school year, offering children take-home meals distributed by school social workers and counselors who work with the nonprofit to find children in need. The program will now be available in all schools in Glynn County.

Crouch said Second Harvest is now working with school leaders to get the program expanded into all schools in Chatham County. Click HERE to learn more about the program.

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