SNAP Outreach Team Helps Put Food on the Table

Thursday, February 25, 2021
Family grocery shopping

Are you struggling to put food on the table and know that a little help would go a long way but don’t think you’d qualify for SNAP benefits? Maria Kay wants you to apply anyway. And she’s here to help you do just that.

“It’s hard to focus on school when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from,” Kay said.

Kay is the Maricopa County Community Colleges SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Support Specialist. She’s part of the SNAP Outreach program, a districtwide initiative designed to provide students, faculty, staff, and community members information, resources, and services, including assistance with the SNAP application process. The program is a partnership between Maricopa Community Colleges and the Department of Economic Security (DES).

Kay said many people don’t apply for SNAP benefits because they don’t think they’d qualify but she stressed that DES looks at each application and determines eligibility on a case-by-case basis. She also said the application process can seem overwhelming but that the entire SNAP Outreach team is ready to lend a hand.

“The application looks daunting,” Kay said. “That’s why the SNAP-O team exists. We’re here to help students get through it so they can get the assistance they need.”

Kay said that because of COVID-19, many previous requirements have been eased.

“The work requirement has been suspended,” she said. “Before COVID-19, students had to work a certain amount of hours to qualify for SNAP but that’s not the case anymore.”

She also said that some online retailers are now accepting SNAP funds, which are placed onto an EBT card, as payment to promote social distancing.

SNAP specialists host an online monthly SNAP Social Hour open to students, employees, and community members who have questions about whether they qualify, need help applying, or want more information. The Social Hour takes place from 2 to 3 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month.