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5 Financial Tips to Keep Your Children Fed While You’re Out of Work

Losing a job is never fun. It’s bad enough job when you’re single, but it’s a lot worse when you have kids. You worry about how you’ll feed yourself and them, especially if your unemployment stretches on for months. However, you can take steps to keep your kids well-fed while you’re unemployed. Here are five ways to ensure dinner is always ready for your kids, no matter what the circumstances.

1. Stock up Ahead of Time

 Like saving money for a rainy day, stocking up your pantry is something you should do when you have the means to do it. It may seem like an expensive chore, but if you stock up over time, your budget won’t be negatively affected. Leanne Brown, author of the “Good and Cheap” cookbook suggests that people fill their pantries with items like beans, eggs, butter, and canned vegetables.

Brown’s book was written specifically for people who live on the approximately $4 a day allotted by the SNAP program. To start a home pantry like Brown suggests, dedicate maybe $5 or so to buying bulk items each time you go shopping. Over the course of time, your pantry will have rice, beans, and other staples just waiting for you to use.

 

2. Check Into Assistance Programs

SNAP, formerly known as the food stamps program, helps low-income families and individuals who made need some assistance paying for food. People on the program are issued an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card loaded by the government but they work just like a debit card of sorts that allows them to pay for food at participating grocery stores. To be eligible for the SNAP program, SNAP individuals or families must meet certain income guidelines. Allotments start at about $194 for the single person on SNAP and go up based on household size.

3. Look Into the Food Bank

 Many people who qualify for SNAP also automatically qualify for food-bank assistance, (although each area’s qualifications are different.) Most food banks also require that people using the food bank live in the area being served. A quick phone call to your local food bank will determine the criteria for your area.

4. Before and After School Programs

Programs like the Boys and Girls Club and Head Start serve meals to the kids in their programs, either before or after school. Some programs, like the Boys and Girls Club, also have summer programs, which continue to serve food to low-income kids during the summer break.

5. Look Into Free or Reduced Lunches

The National Free Lunch Program serves low-income kids breakfast and lunch and sometimes even after school snacks, depending on the area. Like SNAP, eligibility for these programs are determined by income. Additionally, people that belong to SNAP qualify for free lunch programs automatically. Contact your child’s school to find out what forms you need to fill out to get started.

Last Thoughts

Being without work can be painful, feel humiliating, and cause you a great deal of worry. This situation is made doubly difficult when you have kids to worry about. Fortunately, there is some help available for people who are struggling financially. If you’re unemployed right now, these five ideas will carry your family through until you can land a job and get back on your feet again.

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