Resources

SNAP

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides eligible low-income individuals with an Electronic Benefits Transfer card. This card can then be used to purchase items at participating grocery stores.

Eligibility in Missouri

To be eligible for SNAP benefits in Missouri, individuals must meet the following conditions:

  • The applicant must be a Missouri resident.
  • To be considered low-income, the members of the applicant’s household cannot own resources valued at more than $2,250 at application, excluding the primary home, vehicles, burial plots, life insurance, prepaid burials, non-income producing real and personal property, Indian and Alaskan Native payments, savings & pension plans, and resources they do not have access to. There are times that governmental payments, contracts and notes will also be excluded. If everyone in the household is age 60 or over, or disabled, the resource limit is $3,500.
  • A household member convicted after August 22, 1996 in a Federal or State court of a felony or any crime related to illegal possession, use, or distribution of a controlled substance may be eligible for Food Stamp benefits for themselves if certain exemptions apply.
  • A household member who is a fleeing felon and is in violation of a condition of probation or parole imposed under a Federal or State Law will not receive Food Stamp benefits for themselves.
  • The applicant must either have or agree to apply for Social Security numbers for all household members or that household member will not receive Food Stamp benefits for themselves.

How to Apply

To apply for SNAP, you must first complete and submit the application, which can be found at the following links:

English: https://mydss.mo.gov/media/pdf/food-stamp-application

Español: https://mydss.mo.gov/media/pdf/food-stamp-application-spanish

Instructions: https://dss.mo.gov/fsd/formsmanual/instructions/fs-1.htm

For more information, visit https://mydss.mo.gov/food-assistance/food-stamp-program#use.

TANF

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides cash benefits to eligible low-income families for the purpose of purchasing clothing, utilities, and other services for the household’s children. If approved to receive aid, recipients must take part in employment and training services through the Missouri Work Assistance program.

Eligibility in Missouri

To be eligible for TANF benefits in Missouri, individuals must meet the following conditions:

  • The applicant must be a Missouri resident and the parent or legal caretaker of a child who is either under age 18, or the child is attending high school (or equivalent) and is expected to graduate before age 19.
  • To be considered low-income, the members of the applicant’s household cannot own resources valued at more than $1,000 at application, excluding their home and one household member’s car. After the applicant is approved for Temporary Assistance (TA) and he/she signs an Individual Employment Plan, the household’s resources cannot be valued at more than $5,000.
  • The applicant must either have or agree to apply for Social Security numbers for all household members or that household member will not receive TA benefits for themselves.
  • A household member convicted after August 22, 1996 in a Federal or State court of a felony or any crime related to illegal possession, use, or distribution of a controlled substance will not receive TA benefits for themselves.
  • A household member who is a fleeing felon and is in violation of a condition of probation or parole imposed under a Federal or State Law will not receive not receive TA benefits for themselves.
  • If the applicant is approved for TA, the rights for child support must be assigned to the Family Support Division (FSD). The applicant must cooperate in attempting to collect Child Support, or the TA benefit will be reduced by 25%. The Child Support requirement may be waived if the applicant can prove this would be physically or emotionally harmful to themselves or the household member children.
  • The money must be used for the benefit for the children in the household.
  • The applicant must attempt to support or help support the children by accepting employment that does not cause a net loss of income.
  • Drug Testing:
    • Missouri law requires the FSD to ask TA applicants questions about illegal drug use. If the applicant is approved for benefits and did not answer the questions, they will not receive TA benefits for themselves for three years.
    • TA recipients may be required to take a drug test and if they do not show up for the appointment or do not complete the drug test, they will not receive TA benefits for themselves for three years.
    • TA recipients can choose to go directly to substance abuse treatment instead of taking a drug test.
    • If a TA recipient tests positive or elects to go directly to treatment, they must agree to join, participate, and successfully complete a substance abuse treatment program through the Department of Mental Health (DMH), or they will not receive TA benefits for themselves for three years.
    • If a TA recipient is ineligible for TA for themselves, they must appoint a Protective Payee to receive benefits for the rest of the household.

How to Apply

To apply for the TANF program, individuals must verify their eligibility and complete the application. You can find detailed instructions here: https://mydss.mo.gov/temporary-assistance/orientation.

For more information, visit https://mydss.mo.gov/temporary-assistance.

WIC

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides services to pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children until their fifth birthday. This includes nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support, supplemental food, and referrals to health care. 

Eligibility in Missouri

To be eligible for WIC benefits in Missouri, individuals must meet the following conditions:

  • The applicant must be a Missouri resident.
  • An applicant’s household income may be no more than 185% of the federal poverty income guidelines.
    • Families that qualify for SNAP or TANF benefits automatically qualify for WIC.
  • Qualified applicants include:
    • Pregnant women.
    • Women breastfeeding an infant up to the infant’s first birthday.
    • Postpartum women up to six months after delivery or end of pregnancy.
    • Infants up to their first birthday.
    • Children until their fifth birthday.

How to Apply

To apply for the WIC program, individuals must be certified in person at a WIC location. Visit https://health.mo.gov/living/families/wic/families/findalocation/ to find the nearest location.

For more information, visit https://health.mo.gov/living/families/wic/.

School Breakfast and Lunch

The School Breakfast Program provides schools with the opportunity to give healthy breakfasts to students each morning. The National School Lunch Program enables schools to provide nutritious school lunches to students. 

Eligibility in Missouri

To be eligible for these programs in Missouri, individuals must meet the following conditions:

  • Participants must be Missouri residents.
  • Participants must be the parent or primary caregiver responsible for a child attending school (high school or below).
  • Participants must have an annual household income less than or equal to a certain amount depending on the household size (see https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/2000).

How to Apply

To apply for the School Breakfast and Lunch Program, individuals must contact their child’s school. 

For more information, visit https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/2000.

Truman's Closet

Truman’s Closet is a free service that provides MU students, staff, and faculty the opportunity to rent business clothing and graduation gowns. Truman’s Closet is located at 299 Hitt Street and is run by Tiger Pantry. Please contact Tiger Pantry for more information!

Additional Food Pantries

Central Pantry (Pantry Services)

Address: 1007 Big Bear Blvd, Columbia, MO 65202

Phone: 573-874-7848

Website: https://sharefoodbringhope.org/central-pantry-boone-county

Hours: Tuesday – Friday 10 AM – 4 PM, and Saturday 10 AM – 2 PM

 

The Salvation Army Corps (Pantry Services)

Address: 1108 West Ash St, Columbia, MO 65203

Phone: 573-442-3229

Website: https://www.rocktheredkettlecomo.org/deminish-hunger

Hours: Monday – Friday (except Wednesday) 12 PM – 2 PM

 

Harbor House (Congregate Meals)

Address: 602 North Ann St, Columbia, MO 65201

Phone: 573-442-1984

Website: https://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/cgi-bin/id/shelter.cgi?shelter=13512 

Hours: Daily 12 PM – 1 PM

Cooking Tips
  • Plan your meals and make a list of necessary ingredients before shopping. Only take enough cash to pay for those ingredients and you’ll be less likely to buy random foods you don’t need.
  • Cook every other day and make enough for leftovers.
  • Instead of throwing away bad fruit or vegetables, make smoothies or soup.
  • Meat can be expensive, but you can save by having a few meatless meals like Alfredo or Tomato Soup.
  • To save time, purchase pre-cooked meats such as rotisserie chicken or frozen grilled chicken strips.
  • To save money, look for markdowns on meat and seafood, but make sure to freeze them soon since they will likely be close to their expiration date.
  • Make-ahead breakfasts can be easy, quick, and affordable: overnight oats, egg burritos, egg muffins, and breakfast quesadillas. Pinterest has some great recipes for these!
  • Look for one-dish meals that save cooking and cleaning time! Examples are Italian Sausage and Veggiespan or these Paleo Chicken Recipes! You can even line your dishes with foil to save you from scrubbing hardened sugar or oils.
  • Watch local grocery store ads and buy what is on sale that week. Or look for your favorite stores on social media, sometimes they post flash sales or have special giveaways.
  • Have salads as a main dish and garnish with protein, cheese, or fruit! Healthy, quick, and cheap.
  • Keep nutrition in mind. Protein-packed breakfasts and good fatty snacks like nuts and seeds will keep you feeling satisfied longer!
Additional Resources