As undergraduate college students, it would be a stretch to say that money isn’t tight. With the economy in a stagnant state, it’s getting more difficult to afford necessities as essential as food. This is why it’s good to know what options are available.

One of these options is food stamps. Some people might think, “Those are only for really poor people.” That’s not the case. In fact, many Pacific students use food stamps for their groceries.

The process of applying for food stamps, called the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, is relatively simple. First, download and fill out the application online at fns.usda.gov/snap. After completion of the application, deliver, send or fax it to the Hillsboro Department of Human Services. After processing the application, they will contact the applicant to set up an interview. The assigned caseworker will answer any questions. Usually you don’t have to wait very long to find out if you qualify. Once you qualify, you start receiving benefits almost immediately.

That’s all it takes. A source who receives help from SNAP said, “It’s definitely worth it. I get $200 a month for groceries. They put it on a card so I use it like a debit card. I usually buy a bunch of big meals that I can cook and eat over the course of several meals, but I also have enough left over to buy a few snacks that I want. The extra money helps me out tremendously.”

To apply for SNAP, you’ll need photo identification, verification of your social security number, proof of physical address (on-campus students can obtain this from Student Life), a copy of your financial aid award letter, work-study employment verification, monthly rent and utility costs (on-campus students can obtain this from Student Life) and verifications of any income other than federal work-study (including parental income).  Unfortunately, students with a meal plan don’t qualify for food stamps.

If you find yourself struggling to pay for your own groceries or think that you need a little help, it wouldn’t hurt to apply. SNAP is a resource that’s available to a lot people, yet highly under-utilized – and you never know, you may qualify for the program and receive a little extra money to help with groceries. If you want to find out more information about SNAP, contact Student Life or email studentlife@pacificu.edu.

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