Using food stamps to make it through college

Two years into the current economic recession, we all need money, as times are tough. The number of Oregonians seeking assistance from the Food Stamp Program (renamed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on Jan. 1) has increased 49 percent since June 2008, according to data on the Food Research and Action Center’s website. The food stamp program is provided by the government to help improve the health and well-being of low-income households and individuals, according to Oregon SNAP’s government website.
Senior Zachary Hubbard has received food stamps for several years. He gets $200 a month in food stamps. This money is placed on a card, similar to a debit card, which is used to pay for food (see image at right). He said he usually goes to Winco and Albertsons to buy fresh food. But he is not allowed to buy cooked food. “I appreciate the food stamps program, which is good to save money,” Hubbard said. “Oregon is
one of the few states that I know that has such a program.”

Mark of lower class?

Although food stamps are only given to people who make less than $150 per month, Hubbard said they don’t make him feel low class because many Linfield students he knows receive food stamps. He also said applying as a student has a completely different association with non-students. A senior male student said in an e-mail that he wouldn’t use food stamps if he didn’t need to, but he wouldn’t be embarrassed if a group of friends use them together. However, using food stamps still gives him an awkward feeling, which is why he chose to remain anonymous. Some of his friends make fun of him and try to eat his food because they think it was not purchased with his money. He also said that he feels like there are non-students who are richer than college students but use food stamps, so he said he doesn’t see a problem with students who are struggling to pay for school using food stamps to purchase food.

Tips to apply for SNAP benefits

For Linfield students who apply for Oregon SNAP:

Qualifications:

• Must be an Oregon resident

• Must have a federal work study job

• Must not be on any meal plan

• Must earn income of less than $150 per month (cash) and have bank accounts totaling less than
$100.

Steps of application:

• Print an application from

http://DHSforms.hr.state.or.us/Forms/Served/DE0415F.pdf or call your local self-sufficiency office
to have one mailed to you or pick one up at your local self-sufficiency office.

• Fill out the application.

• Turn in the application:

You can mail, fax or drop the application off at your local self-sufficiency office. The McMinnville office is at 368 NE Norton Lane.

The Food Stamps Assistance office in McMinnville where most students applied for food stamps is at 330 NE Kirby St., which is in the parking lot of the movie theater off of Highway 18, across from the Willamette Valley Medical Center.

• After you submit an application, make an appointment for an interview with a caseworker. The
officer of SNAP may go over the application with you in an interview.

What to bring to the interview:

• Identification card

• Social Security number or card

• Proof of income, rent and mortgage payments (the pink copy of employment sheet from Linfield
Human Resources Office)

• Proof of your legal status or citizenship for those who want benefits

*These tips are provided by the Application for Services from the Oregon Department of Human
Services.

by Jaffy Xiao/Features editor

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