FULTON, NY Ã¢â‚¬â€œ With the cold winter months soon approaching heating costs will be on the rise throughout Oswego County.
Many seniors, individuals, and lower income families will be struggling to put healthy food on their tables and may have to choose whether they will heat or eat.
Fortunately the USDA Food Stamp Program can help these households stretch their monthly budgets.
Thanks to the efforts of Catholic Charities of Oswego County more and more Oswego County residents are discovering the benefits of the USDA Food Stamp Program.
Angela Smith, coordinator of the Nutrition Outreach & Education Program at Catholic Charities of Oswego County, has been busy working with low income households to raise awareness of the food assistance programs that are available, educating them on the eligibility requirements, and assisting in enrolling those in need so that they benefit from these programs.
Established through the Nutrition Consortium of NYS, the Nutrition Outreach & Education Program, administered through Catholic Charities of Oswego County, aims to alleviate hunger for poor and near poor residents of New York State, by expanding the availability of, access to, and use of governmental feeding programs, through outreach, education and advocacy.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hundreds of families and individuals are missing out on Food Stamp Program. I want to let these households know that there is no need to choose between heating or eating. The Food Stamp Program is there to help, and it not only benefits them, it benefits the community as well,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Smith.
The USDA Food Stamp Program is funded 100% through the federal government.
There is no state or local contributions towards the costs of the benefits and money spent through the program helps boost the local economy.
In 2008, the Food Stamp Program brought $2.5 billion in federal dollars into New York StateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s economy and local grocery stores.
In this way, the Food Stamp Program is benefiting everyone in the community.
Additionally, for every $1 spent in food stamps in our community, $1.84 is generated in economic revenue.
Smith added that the new income guidelines for food stamps, which were established Oct. 1, make the program accessible to more families and individuals.
The new guidelines for eligibility (Family Size followed by the Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Maximum Gross Monthly Income) are as follows:
(Each additional members adds $406)
The Food Stamp Program is federal entitlement program, similar to Social Security.
Everyone who applies and is determined to be eligible will receive food stamp benefits.
For more information the Nutrition Outreach & Education Program, or the availability of food assistance programs in Oswego County, call Smith at 598-3980.
Catholic Charities of Oswego County serves all people in need regardless of their religious affiliation.
Primary funding sources for Catholic Charities of Oswego County programs are the United Way of Greater Oswego County, the Diocesan Hope Appeal, the County of Oswego and private donations by individuals and local companies and organizations.