The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps) goes by a catchy acronym, SNAP. The problem is many eligible people, including seniors, are either unaware of their eligibility for benefits or find the enrollment process too bewildering.
Catholic Health Care Services (CHCS) of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has just received a $35,000 grant to offer assistance with the paperwork for seniors who wish to apply for SNAP.
The program is open to seniors 60 years and older, with the amount received varying by their income.
Funding for the program was part of a $2 million grant by the Walmart Foundation for hunger alleviation to Catholic Charities USA, which in turn distributed it to Catholic agencies around the country.
“Thanks to Walmart a significant number of people will be aided in maintaining a healthy diet, which is in dire need in our country,” said Sister Donna Markham, O.P., the president and CEO of CCUSA. “More than 50 percent of the people served by Catholic Charities agencies come to us because they are hungry.”
Programs like SNAP enable seniors to stay in their own homes as they age. “The process is very simple and they don’t have to go anywhere,” said a coordinator at St. Charles Senior Center.
In the Philadelphia Archdiocese, Catholic Health Care Services offer assistance to those who wish to apply for SNAP through its In-Home Support Program in South Philadelphia, the network of Senior Community Centers and Affordable Senior Housing Communities.
Many seniors who are eligible for SNAP simply do not apply for it, according to Karen Becker, director of In-Home Support and Special Projects at CHCS. Among the reasons may be they can’t get out to a location to apply, or they don’t have a computer to do it online or they simply feel there is a stigma attached to applying for food assistance.
“We know food insecurity is very high,” she said. “There are millions of older Americans at risk because of hunger. This service enables us to assist them with their going to a county assistance center. They can just call one of our senior centers.”
At St. Charles Senior Center in South Philadelphia, where there is a meal program for seniors who drop in, Jenna Flanagan coordinates social services including SNAP, and she believes programs like this enable seniors to stay in their own homes as they age.
Those in the upper end of the income eligibility bracket ($1,980 per month) may not receive a large sum, but every little bit helps and if you add it up over the course of the year it is well worth it, she believes. And the service isn’t limited to people who come to the Senior Center on a steady basis, anyone can call.
“The process is very simple and they don’t have to go anywhere,” she said.
Seniors 60 years or older interested in SNAP benefits can call the CHCS toll free number at 888-679-7669 or any of the Archdiocesan Senior Centers, all in Philadelphia: St. Anne’s Senior Community Center, 215-423-2772; St. Charles Senior Community Center, 215-790-9530; Norris Square Senior Community Center, 215-423-7241; Star Harbor Community Center, 215-423-4414.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Sisters of St. Joseph open Welcome Center for new arrivals in Olney
NEXT: Franciscan-educated Dr. Chris Domes named new head of Neumann U
I am the Director of Clinical Services a t Adult Care of Chester County if we could be of help out here in Chester County to sign up seniors we want to be a center to sign them up. Even out here many seniors are insecure d need and would qualify for SNAP . Please contact me if you could use our center a- an area to sign them up. We have staff that could be available to do this. Call me at 610-363-8044
I manage 2-1-1 in Southeastern PA. Let me know if Adult Care of Chester County is able to start doing this work. Benefits enrollment is a huge need that 2-1-1 receives calls for so we would love to have somewhere else to refer seniors to enroll in SNAP.
If you’re interested, you can view Adult Care of Chester County’s current 2-1-1 listing here – http://211sepa.org/profile/?type=agency&id=411753 . Each service is linked to as the bottom of that page.