Making 'HELP' Available to New Mexico's Hungry, Food Insecure
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
Inflation has caused some New Mexico families, who were breaking even six months ago, to once again struggle, and groups working to alleviate hunger want to help.
One-fifth of New Mexico residents rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but some find the application process overwhelming.
Jason Riggs, community initiatives manager-client services for the Roadrunner Food Bank, said every dollar of SNAP generates a positive economic impact in local communities, because it helps families in need, whose spending then boosts the economy.
"One completed SNAP application can generate in New Mexico about $3,033 in benefits," Riggs pointed out. "That's going to have an economic impact of $4,671."
The Biden administration announced plans for a September conference on hunger, nutrition and health; the first since 1969. The conference led to the Women, Infants and Children program and improved the existing food stamp program.
Roadrunner Food Bank is a statewide organization, including serving those in isolated, rural communities. Riggs acknowledged people who have access to the internet may not feel internet-proficient, and can find the application process stressful.
"What we get back from our clients -- they may have internet, they found us on a Google ad -- so presumably they would just be a few steps from applying on their own," Riggs observed. "But they like having our assistance, and we try to provide them with all the options."
Sometimes it is not a matter of eligibility for SNAP benefits, according to Riggs, but remembering the application needs to be renewed annually.
"So, if you happen to not act on that, but regardless, New Mexico does have a problem with people dropping off benefits they still qualify for -- just failing to recertify -- so that's something else we can help folks with," Riggs explained.
Riggs added SNAP benefits help ease the financial burden families face, allowing them to preserve their small incomes for rent, prescriptions and other necessary living expenses.
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