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SNAP program helps seniors, area economy

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Doctors remind us that our bodies cannot stay healthy or heal well if we don’t eat enough good food. Up to a million older New Yorkers may be eligible for monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, but less than half apply for them. SNAP, the new name for the Food Stamp Program, is a federal entitlement program, like Social Security and Medicare. On average, older adult households who participate receive nearly $150 each month in benefits.

Not only is good nutrition the best medicine for our bodies, it’s also good for our local economy. This helps our economy since SNAP dollars are spent at local grocery stores and at local farmers’ markets. Our regional neighbors who utilize SNAP dollars to buy food are helping farmers and local businesses sell more of their products. They are also assisting grocery store owners with salaries to pay their employees.

More older adults may now be eligible for SNAP because of recent changes to the program. Did you know that SNAP comes on an electronic benefits transfer card that has an automatic deposit of your SNAP benefits every month? It looks and works just a debit card, so shopping with SNAP is private and easy. If you own a home or have savings in the bank, you may still be eligible for SNAP. If you’re 60 and over, your medical and dependent care costs may mean a larger benefit for you each month.

For more information or a free private prescreening to find out if you may be eligible for SNAP, contact your Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties Nutrition Outreach and Education Program coordinators. Your Jefferson County NOEP Coordinator is Barb Beach. Your St. Lawrence County NOEP Coordinator is Cortney Stewart. Both are members of your north country community who offer friendly and supportive help throughout the application process, including help with filling out the application and gathering paperwork, even a home visit if transportation is a concern.

If you live in Jefferson County, call your NOEP at the Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County Inc., 782-4900, ext. 255.

In St. Lawrence County, call your NOEP at Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County Inc. toll free: 1-855-313-2272 or 315-777-3545.

Sharon Bouchard

Watertown

The writer is the director of Family Center, Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County Inc.

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