Due to recently passed federal legislation, a program that runs through the Utah Department of Workforce Services is getting a leg-up to help families in need when it comes to food and nutrition. On KVNU’s For the People program on Thursday, Alex Cragun, from the statewide non-profit Utahns Against Hunger, talked about the program that launched on August 1st.
“Children that are enrolled in school, that are also enrolled in Free and Reduced Meals, those kids didn’t have an opportunity to receive those meals from March until May, in part because schools were closed down in the state of Utah. So, what this program is designed to do is to provide those families with the funds that would have normally gone to pay for those meals at school, to be used to purchase food at home,” Cragun explained.
He said if a household, for example, is involved in the Free and Reduced Lunch Program and is also enrolled in the SNAP program (formerly known as Food Stamps), they don’t have to do anything. The state already has enough information in making sure they are qualified for the program and the state will add that $308 per child to their benefits card.
“Now, if a family is reduced in Free and Reduced Lunch, but they’re not enrolled in SNAP, what they have to go and do is go to the Department of Workforce Services website and that application will be available, and they will have to fill out about 10 questions, and it’s a fairly straightforward application.”
He said they have seen a marked increase in food insecurity in the state, which Cragun defined as not being able to know where your next meal is coming from or it sometimes refers to a family member forgoing meals so that their children can eat. So it’s an important program for families.
You can get more information on the program and the Utahns Against Hunger organization at UAH.org.