Article Index

Food assistance

Please search on the various suggested categories under Food at Mass211.

Food Stamps (SNAP)

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture provides funds to all states for the Food Stamp program. (The Food Stamp Program has a new name SNAP—the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.) If your income and assets are under a certain amount, you can apply to your state public welfare agency for food stamps. Each month, you will obtain a certain value of food stamps that you can use to purchase food and some other items. In Massachusetts, call your local Dept. of Transitional Assistance to learn how to apply. For locations statewide, call 1-800-249-2007.

Food pantries and other food distribution programs

Many communities, through local churches, food pantries, and other charities, provide free food distribution to individuals and families who cannot afford the cost of food. Check with your local community action or other agency to find out about such food distribution networks within your area.

Here is a listing of some of the different types of programs

1) food pantries and free meals—food pantries provide free uncooked food to take home, and free meals programs provide a place to go to eat cooked meals free of charge;

2) meals-on-wheels and dining centers;

3) bags of food and food packages—check with your local community action agency. If you do not know which CAP serves you in Massachusetts, call the Division of Neighborhoods and Economic Opportunity at 617-722-7004. They will direct you to the correct CAP.

Energy assistance

Energy assistance

Again, check the Mass211  website for a full listing of programs and agencies.

Heating assistance

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), usually called Fuel Assistance helps low-income individuals pay their heating bills. Eligibility is based on income and the program is both for homeowners and renters. The fuel assistance program is administered through local community action programs (CAPS).

For the Fuel Assistance Agencies statewide, call 1800-632-8175. There are several other programs listed at Mass211 if you search the term "Heating Fuel Assistance." These include Citizen's Energy Heat Assistance (Call Joe for Oil), the Good Neighbor Energy Fund, Utility Arrearage Programs for Overdue Utility Bills, Utility Discounts, and Mass. Save.