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2014-10-30

Federally-funded meal programs available to help feed those in need

Special to The Courier

The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is informing Texans in need about federal programs such as the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that offer nutritious meals to children and adults. Approximately 13,000 adult and child care centers and home-based day cares in Texas are serving free or reduced-priced meals through the federally-funded CACFP.
These federal funds are available to help Texas families who find themselves in difficult times financially. Assistance programs should be utilized as a temporary bridge to a better economic situation - not as an endless highway. TDA is committed to helping these families with their immediate nutritional needs to assist them in becoming food independent in the future.
Meals provided through the CACFP are funded by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). CACFP provides nutritious meals to children and adults enrolled in participating child care centers, day care homes and adult day care centers.
Households with children enrolled in a participating center or home who are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits; receive Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC); or who are enrolled in Early Head Start, Head Start or Even Start Programs; or who receive Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) benefits, automatically qualify for free meals.
Households with children enrolled in a center or home that does not receive any of the above assistance may qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on household income.
Foster children placed with a caregiver by the state or courts are eligible for free and reduced-price meals. If you have foster children living with you and wish to apply for free or reduced-price meals for your foster child, contact your child care center or day care home for assistance.
Parents or guardians who become unemployed may apply for free or reduced-price meals on behalf of their children at any time during the period of unemployment. Adults who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) benefits, Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income automatically qualify for free meals.
Adults who do not receive any of the above assistance may qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on household income.
The information provided on the application will be treated confidentially and be used only for eligibility determinations and verification of information.
To apply for free or reduced-price meals, request an application from your child care center, adult day care center or day care home provider. An application for free or reduced-price meals cannot be approved unless it contains complete eligibility information as indicated on the application and instructions. Only one application is required per household, and households may apply at any time.
If your application for free or reduced-price meals is denied, you have the right to request a fair hearing from your child care center, adult day care center or day care home. Verification of the accuracy of your application for free or reduced-price meals can occur at any time.