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As part of the federal response to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Food and Nutrition Service plays a vital role by responding to nutrition assistance needs during this pandemic. Through our state and local partners, FNS is working to ensure that children and low-income Americans maintain access to food. In addition, the consumer resources listed below are provided to help individuals and families like you during this time of exceptional need and uncertainty.

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Requesting SNAP or WIC Assistance

SNAP and WIC are two federal programs to help families in need get nutrition benefits to purchase healthy food. If you need help, reach out to your local/state SNAP office or WIC office. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provided additional resources to support an increase in program participation.

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Using Your SNAP and WIC Benefits

You should limit your time and number of trips to grocery stores and other food retailers during the pandemic. But when you need to get food, call ahead to be sure the location is open and well-stocked. Use the SNAP Retailer Locator if you are new to the program and need to locate nearby SNAP-authorized retailers.

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Be Careful to Avoid Scams

Be on the lookout for potential scammers using the COVID-19 situation to steal personal information such as social security numbers, bank information, or SNAP EBT card or PIN numbers. If you are a SNAP participant and are unsure if a request for information is legitimate, contact your local/state SNAP office.

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Access to Food While School Is Closed

Many school districts across the country are continuing to provide meals to students in need during school closures. Check for local programs in your area by using our Meals 4 Kids locator. You can also contact your local school to learn about meals that may be available through pop-up food systems, grab-and-go meal pickups, or along school bus routes.

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Food Planning with MyPlate

During a pandemic, you may be taking extra precautions to keep you and your family safe and prepared, including making sure you have everything you need at home. Food Planning During the Coronavirus Pandemic contains information on food planning, including what to buy, how much to buy, and preparation tips.

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Activities for Families at Home

Adults and kids at home may need some activities to keep busy and to reduce stress and worry. Team Nutrition has cooking and nutrition activities and food group games and activities, and MyPlate has plenty of health-related activities and printable materials to get the whole family involved.

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Hand washing Resources

Regular hand washing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. Families can learn together with printable tip sheet on hand washing. Younger kids can learn the basics of hand washing by working on an activity sheet.

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Additional Food Assistance

The USDA National Hunger Clearinghouse helps low-income people with food assistance. If you need help finding local food resources such as meal sites, food banks, and other social services, call 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (Spanish) to speak with a representative. You can also text to the automated service at 914-342-7744. with a question that may contain a keyword such as “food,” “meals,” etc., to receive an automated response to local resources.

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Additional Information about Coronavirus

For more information about what you can do to slow the spread of the coronavirus, please visit