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Hungry but help’s out there - Many fail to apply for food stamps

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Fruits, vegetables—and food stamps—should be part of a nutritionally balanced is urging.

“Food prices are skyrocketing and everyone should take the help they need to maintain a healthy and balanced diet,” said Councilmember Sara González.

“Some are unaware and others have concerns about their immigration status,” the lawmaker said, adding that “residents’ status will never be compromised when they are seeking out any city service.”

A recent Council study found that the borough has the highest number of people eligible for food stamps, but fail to apply.

The councilwoman and her colleagues have partnered with the Human Resources Administration (HRA) to develop a food stamp data match program following a study conducted by the City Council to identify where the greatest needs are present.

Beginning in the fall, letters will be sent out to Medicaid and Family Health Plus participants in Brooklyn who do not utilize the food stamp program.

By then, HRA will have completed developing a system to give Brooklynites the ability to do the majority of the application procedure over the phone.

“In the meantime, I urge anyone in my district who is struggling to put food on their tables to call my office, right now. I will help you access the services you need and streamline the process. Balanced nutrition is an essential element you and your family need to succeed,” González said.

In the past, González has taken to local supermarkets to rally shoppers to utilize the city’s food stamp program, a vital nutritional bridge for those in need.

González said her trip to the market made sense.

“The concept of reaching out to consumers directly at the supermarkets, where their concentration is so focused on food prices and buying strategies, helped to further advance participation in the food stamp program,” she said.

The 11220 zip code—Sunset Park, which Gonzalez represents—has the highest number of Medicaid or Family Health Plus program participants who are not enrolled in the food stamp program.

There are approximately 10,000 children under the age of 16 and 7,500 adults between the ages of 25 and 55 within 11220, as well as over 210,000 people throughout Brooklyn, who fall under this category, she noted.

In addition, 35 percent of seniors city-wide have trouble getting the food they need.

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