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2018 Holiday Help Guide - Part 2

Help Paying Bills
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is particularly important over the holidays when people usually need extra utility money the most. The winter chill can be pretty tough on our electricity bills, and families struggling with their finances might find the added strain on the budgets too much to bear.

Programs like LIHEAP help keep families safe and healthy by assisting them with their energy costs, saving them from having to choose between their physical comfort and the wellbeing of their budget.

For more information, visit the LIHEAP home page on the Office of Community Services website.

Food Banks and Pantries
Many food banks and pantries provide food baskets for low-income families throughout the holidays.

For example, the nonprofit organization, Feeding America feeds millions of people all year round through its network of more than 200 food banks. The Find a Food Bank page on the Feeding America website is the first place you should check if you want to find your closest local food bank.

Food pantries are similar to food banks but are normally self-governing entities sponsored by local churches and community agencies. They distribute food on a monthly basis to those most in need. If you think you're likely to be short on food on Christmas day, or at any other time, you might want to consider your local food bank or food pantry options.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) is the largest domestic hunger safety net, offering food-purchasing assistance to eligible low-income individuals and families.

SNAP provides eligible individuals and families with an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card with a financial allotment that can be used to purchase food items at supermarkets, convenience stores, and other food retailers. This financial assistance can come in particularly handy over the holidays, when you may need a little extra cash to deal with the financial crunch.

You can apply for the SNAP program at your local SNAP office, or even online if your state allows it.

Final Word
As you can see from the information provided above, there are plenty of organizations and programs that offer assistance to low-income individuals and families over the festive season. If you're feeling depressed, overwhelmed, or just plain hopeless, give these programs a try. They'll offer you food, help, and even some company, exactly what lonely or struggling souls need most over the holidays.

Remember, though, many experience high demand, so be sure not to wait until the last minute to contact them. The earlier, the better!

Resource Links

Salvation Army
Catholic Charities
Toys for Tots
Make-a-Wish
LIHEAP
Find a Food Bank
SNAP