Residents of Fulton and Montgomery counties are feeling the effect of rising food prices along with the rest of the country. Low-income families spend a higher percentage of their income on groceries and have been hit hardest by soaring gasoline and heating costs and jumps in the prices of staples like milk, eggs and bread. These families in our community may soon be facing a "Heat or Eat" dilemma - choosing between food and fuel.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the new name for food stamps, is the first line of defense against hunger in our community. SNAP not only cushions the hardships on vulnerable people who face a constant struggle against hunger, but also provides a timely boost to our local economy. Every $5 in new food stamp benefits generates $9.20 in total community spending. Monthly SNAP benefits are spent in local grocery stores and at farmer's markets, supporting our local retailers and farmers. SNAP is a great way to support our local farmers and producers. Fulton and Montgomery counties have such a variety of fresh local products it is important to continue to promote that aspect of our region.
Eat better for your health. Everyone needs good nutrition for good health, especially as you age. A nutritious diet can prevent or help many health complaints, and for those with fixed incomes, the risk of suffering from health problems is higher if they cannot buy enough healthy food to eat. Hunger and improper nutrition also can reduce a child's ability to learn, decrease a worker's productive energy, and weaken an elderly person's resistance to illness.
Increasing awareness about good nutrition and participation in SNAP helps low-income families in our community put nutritious food on the table while supporting local businesses. Improving access to this valuable nutrition safety net benefits our entire community.
To find out if you might be eligible and get help with applying, call The Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York Nutrition Outreach and Education Program at 842-9466. For Fulton County, dial Ext. 227. For Montgomery County, dial Ext. 225.
Nutrition outreach and education
coordinator for Legal Aid Society of