Family Programs

Public nutrition assistance programs can make a crucial difference in improving a child’s health and development. Listed below are links to some programs that can help your family in difficult times.

Other beneficial resources include emergency food and social services including health care, shelter, energy assistance and bill assistance. Request the full up-to-date list of free food and nutritional education resources from:

Lynn Knox, Screen & Intervene Coordinator, 503-548-7508

SNAP / Food stamps

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps low-income people and families buy the food they need. Benefits are provided on an electronic card that is used like an ATM card and accepted at most grocery stores.

Learn more about eligibility.

Apply for benefits.

Helpful contacts

  • 211info is a toll-free, health and social service helpline for Oregon. Call 211 to be referred to basic needs services including food, health care, shelter and bill assistance. Or visit
  • Visit to screen yourself for SNAP and other program eligibility.

Some facts about the program

  • More than one in five Oregonians receive SNAP benefits.
  • More than 807,000 Oregonians participated in SNAP in October 2012, increasing by nearly 20,000 individuals compared to October 2011.
  • As a result, more than $1 million in federal funds came into the state economy, stimulating more than $1.75 billion in local economic activity.
  • Every $1 in SNAP benefits creates $1.79 in economic activity.

The SNAP Vaccine: Boosting Children's Health
Children's HealthWatch, February 2012

Boost to SNAP Benefits Protected Young Children's Health

Children's HealthWatch, October 2011

Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

The Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children is an integral part of the Department of Human Services (DHS) Public Health Division. WIC is designed to reach families most in need of preventative health services and to address health disparities. 

Find a WIC clinic in your county.

WIC services to Oregon families include:

  • Breastfeeding education and support
  • Individual growth and health assessments
  • Education on nutrition and physical activity
  • Referrals to other preventative health services like prenatal care and immunizations
  • Nutritious foods purchased with WIC vouchers

WIC Improves Child Health and School Readiness
January 2010, Children’s HealthWatch – Policy Action Brief.

Feeding our Future: Growing up healthy with WIC
May 2009, Children’s HealthWatch.

Meals and Snacks

The National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program provide nutritious food to school-aged children resulting in improved academic performance, concentration and fewer behavioral problems. Summer-food and after-school programs provide free snacks and meals during out-of-school time. These programs are open to all children and youth regardless of income.

Find a summer meal site near you.

Child Care Feeding Programs Support Young Children’s
Healthy Development

January 2010, Children’s HealthWatch – Policy Action Brief.

Emergency food in Oregon

Oregon Food Bank is a charitable organization that collects food from a variety of sources and distributes it through a statewide network of 20 regional food banks in Oregon and Clark County, Washington. For more information or to locate resources, call 211info by dialing 211 or visit

Find emergency food in your community.

is a toll-free, health and social service helpline for Oregon. Call 211 to be referred to basic need services including food, health care, shelter and bill assistance.

Oregonhelps is a free, confidential online pre-screener that helps families estimate potential eligibility for food and social service programs.  


Food security:
The ready availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods for an active, healthy life.

Food insecurity (low food security):
occurs whenever the availability of nutritionally adequate food or the ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways is limited or uncertain due to insufficient money and other resources.

Hunger (very low food security):
a situation where household members unwillingly go without food for an intermittent or extended period of time.
(USDA Economic Research Service)