Health and Public Benefits

Applying for free or low-cost food

If you or your family members are skipping meals, going hungry or not eating enough healthy food because you can’t afford it, you may be able to receive help from a food program. Read more to learn about different programs that are available in Ohio.

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Understanding the Basics

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If your income is too low to buy enough food for yourself or your family, you might qualify for one or more programs that can give you food or money for food.

For families with children

These programs help families with children:

  • Power Pack. If you have children who don’t have enough to eat on the weekends, you may be eligible for a Power Pack. Food banks work with schools to send home backpacks every Friday filled with healthy food. You can apply for a Power Pack through your local food bank. 
  • School Meals. Children in school may be able to get free or reduced-price school meals. These meals may include breakfast, lunch or even dinner after school. 
  • Special Milk Program. If you have a child who attends a school, preschool or day care that does not participate in the school meal program, they may be able to get free milk. 
  • Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Even when school is out, children may be able to get free meals during the summer in some areas. Check with the Ohio Department of Education's clickable map to see if your county is participating and where to apply. 
  • The Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC for short, can help with healthy food, baby formula and free health screenings.

For individuals or families

These programs help families and individuals:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or food stamps. If your income is not enough for you to buy food for yourself or your family, you may be able to get help paying for food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 
  • Food Banks. You may be able to shop for food on a regular basis at your local food bank. 

For seniors and individuals with medical conditions

These programs help seniors and people with certain medical conditions: 

  • Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). CSPF serves low-income people who are at least 60 years old. It provides packages of healthy foods, like fresh vegetables, meats, peanut butter, cheese and cereals. To apply, contact your local food bank. 
  • Meal Delivery. If you or someone in your home has a medical condition that makes it difficult to leave the house, you may be able to have meals delivered. Some meal delivery programs only deliver to seniors, but some deliver to anyone who is home-bound. To find meal delivery programs in your area, visit the Meals on Wheels interactive map. 
  • Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program. If you are at least 60 years old, your local Area Office on Aging has a nutrition program that can help. Eligible adults can receive $50 worth of coupons to purchase locally grown, fresh fruits and vegetables. 
  • Shared Meal Sites. Some community centers and other locations give meals to seniors on weekdays to promote nutrition and socialization. You may also be able to get free rides to shared meals or have them delivered. Check with your local Area Office on Aging to find out what programs are available in your area.

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