Minnesotans who have recently lost their jobs and watched their incomes drop have less to spend on necessities, including food. As the struggle to put healthy food on the table has increased, there is more help available from state and local sources.
In most cases, the aid has been funded through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Many Minnesotans may be applying for benefits for the first time during this pandemic. DHS’ SNAP Outreach providers can assist with SNAP applications by providing one-on-one assistance as well as helping individuals understand their SNAP benefits. Use this list of SNAP outreach providers for assistance.
Families and individuals in need of additional food support can find links to resources on the department’s website at mn.gov/dhs/food-emergency/ or by calling the Food Helpline at 1-888-711-1151. Families with immediate needs replacing their child’s school meals should contact their child’s school to learn about available options.
Since the pandemic began, hungry Minnesotans have been able to take advantage of extra SNAP benefits, including for families of 267,000 school children who would have received free or reduced-price lunches but did not due to school closures; a texting pilot in multiple languages to get the word out to as many families as possible; and the chance to purchase food online at Walmart or Amazon using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.
This month, the department issued $12 million in CARES Act funding through the Minnesota COVID Food Fund Grant to 240 tribal governments, nonprofit agencies or local units of government that provide food and other items for food shelves throughout the state.
The USDA recently approved November Emergency SNAP benefits, which the department is issuing in December.