Flint families with children who qualify for food assistance benefits will receive an additional $30 per child monthly beginning in March.
There are 15,622 children receiving the additional benefits through Michigan’s Food Assistance Program, part of the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The Legislature appropriated $7 million in federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant dollars for emergency food assistance for Flint children, with half going to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and half going to the Michigan Department of Education. The two departments pooled the money to provide the additional food assistance benefits for children in Flint.
Families in Flint ZIP codes served by the city of Flint water system who receive food assistance do not have to do anything to receive the additional benefits for every child up to age 18 in their Food Assistance Program group. The benefits will be automatically loaded onto the Bridge Cards that they use for food benefits purchases beginning in March and through December.
MDHHS is mailing notices of the additional benefits to these families this week.
Nutritional food such as fruits and vegetables that are rich in calcium, vitamin C and iron can limit the effects of lead exposure that may have occurred as a result of the Flint water crisis. The additional food assistance can be spent on any food that’s eligible under the federal program.
MDHHS is also partnering with Michigan State University Extension to provide information to Flint families on foods that are vital to good nutrition and to help mitigate the effects of lead. For example, there are cooking classes that show families how to make meals with nutritious ingredients.
“Eating nutritious foods is crucial to mitigating the impact of lead exposure on the health of Flint residents – including children who are particularly at risk,” said MDHHS Director Nick Lyon. “That’s why this additional food assistance is so important. The state of Michigan is committed to helping the residents of Flint in coordination with our partners, including the federal government and Michigan State University. We appreciate the spirit of partnership from the Michigan Department of Education that will benefit children in Flint.”
Anyone with questions should contact their MDHHS caseworker.