Posts filed under food assistance

Double Up Food Bucks, farmers markets, and voucher programs

The Double Up Food Bucks program has started for the 2016 season and is offering a $10 match for SNAP participants who use their SNAP at a participating farmers market. In other words, recipients receive $20 worth of food for only $10 of SNAP benefits. Click here to find participating markets.

SNAP participants can go to information tent at participating farmers market and swipe their Oregon Trail Card to receive tokens that can be used to purchase any food items from market vendors and additional $2 Double Up Food Bucks cards (of up to $10) that can be used to purchase fruits and vegetables.

If you live outside of Portland, you can use http://www.oregonfarmersmarkets.org/market-finder/ to find farmers markets.

Posted on May 14, 2016 and filed under food assistance.

Important SNAP rules in Multnomah and Washington Counties

SNAP

April 1 is an important deadline for some SNAP participants in Multnomah and Washington counties.

New rules for SNAP went into effect this year for people who are “able-bodied adults without dependents” ages 18-49 who live in Multnomah and Washington counties. These individuals are limited to three months of SNAP benefits between Jan. 1, 2016, and Dec. 31, 2018, unless they are exempt from the policy because they are unable to work or are meeting required work activities.

These rules affect people who meet all of these criteria:

  • Residents of Multnomah and Washington counties
  • Ages 18-49
  • Are able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs)

Oregon has had a waiver from this federal policy since the early 2000s because the unemployment rate was higher than the national unemployment rate. Currently the unemployment rate in these two counties is lower than the national unemployment rate, so Oregon was not able to obtain a renewed waiver from these rules in Multnomah and Washington counties.

There are many exemptions from the rules, and many current SNAP participants in these two counties who are ABAWDs may be already in compliance with required work activities. However, many may be unaware there are new requirements in order to receive SNAP beyond three months.

A comprehensive fact sheet can be found at OregonHunger.

 The Department of Human Services has sent letters to all current SNAP participants that DHS has identified as ABAWDs to alert them of the new rules and give them an opportunity to contact DHS. However, there are thousands who have not connected with DHS to receive an exemption or report work activities, which means they are in danger of losing their SNAP benefits in April.

Come April 1, these SNAP participants will still have 90 days to make contact with DHS and can have the time limit removed if they were in fact exempt during January through the end of March or were meeting current work activity requirements.

For individuals ages 18-49 who live in Multnomah and Washington counties, without children in their SNAP benefits group, please ask them if they are aware of the new ABAWD rules. If they are not aware of the rules, please ask them to contact DHS. For individuals who have issues connecting with DHS or have further questions about the new ABAWD policy, they can dial 211, email help@211info.org or text their zip code to 898211 for further assistance.

Posted on March 11, 2016 and filed under food assistance.

The WICshopper App

WICshopper

This new app offers healthy recipes, WIC benefits, and a barcode scan option in one app! Check out The Swiss Chard and Lentil soup recipe, it is fantastic for a cold winter day. The bar code scan option will show you which grocery store foods you can purchase with your WIC benefits. The WICshopper app along with the new e-WIC benefit card provides families with WIC food benefits in a quicker way that makes sense. 

What is it? The WICshopper app is FREE for participants and you don't need an eWIC card to use it. The app can be downloaded today and currently has three main features:

  • Barcode Scan - simply scan the UPC with your camera and find out if food is WIC-eligible
  • Recipes - find a list of quick recipes that use family friendly ingredients
  • My Benefits - check your food benefit balance and for each food item with a balance, see the WIC eligible brands of that food

How does it work? 

  • Go to your app store and search for the WICShopper (all one word).
  • Once installed select OREGON as your WIC provider and select done.
  • Then it will ask you to register your eWIC card. If you have one, type in the 16 digit number and then enter it one more time to confirm. If you don't have one, just select 'Do Not Register'. When you receive your card, you can select 'Manage Cards' to register at another time. 

It's an exciting time for Oregon, with eWIC (electronic benefits) rolling out across the state it's never been a better time for families to connect with WIC! 

Posted on January 26, 2016 and filed under food assistance.

eWIC leads WIC into the 21st century and makes using benefits much simpler for participants

ewic

The eWIC card makes it easier for you and your family to grocery shop for your favorite WIC eligible foods for these reasons: 

  • No more paper voucher 
  • You can swipe your eWIC card just like a debit card to purchase WIC eligible foods;
  • You can buy one item at a time and save the rest for another shopping trip;
  • You don't have to separate WIC foods from non WIC foods; just swipe your WIC card before any other sort of payment, and WIC foods will automatically be paid for.

WHAT

Moving away from printed vouchers to the electronic benefit card, eWIC, will make it easier and faster for you to purchase your WIC staples including nutrient-rich foods like fruit & vegetables, low-fat milk and whole-grain bread.

WHEN

The WIC staff is very excited to announce that both Linn and Benton County have successfully implemented the new eWIC card program. eWIC will be available at most Oregon WIC clinics by early March 2016

WHY

The eWIC card was developed to simplify grocery shopping. It allows you to use benefits how you want and when you want, while securing your benefits on a pin protected card.

to read more about eWIC or watch some helpful videos, click here  

Posted on December 28, 2015 and filed under food assistance.

Learn about low-cost and healthy cooking through Oregon Food Bank course

At the market, have high prices made you turn away from vegetables, fruits, dairy, and other healthy items? Truly, it’s not a good bargain to get the most grams of sugar, fat, and sodium for the lowest prices when your health is concerned. In spite of these grocery norms, don’t let a low monthly budget stop you from preparing healthy and delicious meals. The Oregon Food Bank shows you the basics of doing just that in a six-week cooking course beginning in late January.