Food distribution program reaches low income residents

LAKE COUNTY - The importance of a balanced and healthy diet often takes a back seat when low-income residents are forced to choose food based on what’s most affordable.

In an effort to fill in the gaps, the U.S. Department of Agriculture purchases food that is typically lacking in the diets of low-income residents and provides it for distribution through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

Locally, the program is facilitated by FiveCAP, Inc., which distributes food boxes once a month to income-eligible parents of children younger than 6 who don’t receive WIC and senior citizens older than 60. Through the program, each household receives cheese, cans of fruit, cans of vegetables, milk, cereal, dry beans or peanut butter, canned meat, pasta and juice.

“It’s to supplement what people might be missing in their diet nutritionally,” FiveCAP Community Support Director Holly Haywood said of the program. Volunteers are needed to assist with unloading the food truck, which arrives on Tuesday, Feb. 14, and packing the boxes as well as help distributing the food on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

“The time commitment of the volunteers is completely up to them,” Haywood said. “We have some people who come for the entire day and others who can only stay for an hour or so.”

To qualify for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, residents must provide proof of income for the past 30 days as well as the birthdates and Social Security numbers for everyone in the household. The applicant must also have a picture ID when signing up for the program.

Those interested can apply up until the day before distribution and, once registered, will be registered for the entire year. For more information on the program, to apply or volunteer to help with distribution, contact your local FiveCAP office at (231) 745-4617 or stop by the office located at 2476 West 44th St., in Baldwin.