More qualify for food, energy help

Community Action Engagement Liason Mary Orr said that anyone who previously did not qualify for the emergency food assistance program to reapply as income limits have been raised in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

More Benewah County residents may now qualify for emergency food and energy assistance.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Community Action Partnership Association of Idaho has increased eligibility for food and energy benefits and extended the energy assistance program.

Community Action Engagement Liaison at the St. Maries Food Bank Mary Orr said that people not previously eligible for benefits should apply.

“Income limits have been increased so people who may not have been eligible before should apply,” Ms. Orr said.

Under the new guidelines the income threshold has increased 52 percent. A single person household earning $2,657.50 per month, or $31,890 annually is eligible for emergency food assistance. Previously income eligibility was set at $1,384.31 per month for a single person household.

Annual income limits for the emergency food assistance program are available on for families of up to eight people. For families with more than eight people the income limit is raised by $11,196 annually per additional family member.

The annual income limit for energy assistance is $18,735 for a single member household. The energy assistance program provides a one-time utility payment and emergency assistance in the event of a utility disconnection.

According to Ms. Orr no dates for the termination of the expanded benefits for either program have been determined and funding for the energy program is ongoing.

“We have run out [of funds] a few times and they have put more in,” she said. “Normally it is only during the cold months but it has been extended to give people a little more wiggle room.”

To apply or get more information contact Ms. Orr, 208-245-9090. New hours for the St. Maries Food Bank are Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The St. Maries Food Bank is also able to provide assistance to individuals outside of the CAP program. Anyone needing food assistance is encouraged to contact the food bank.

“The food bank is for anyone who feels like they need help for food,” Ms. Orr said.

Anyone who would like to donate food can call to set up a meeting time or drop off their donation.

According to Ms. Orr boxed meals such as Hamburger Helper, macaroni and cheese and cereals go quickly.

Ms. Orr also expressed gratitude to members of the community and local employers who have helped to keep the food bank well stocked.

“We are doing pretty good. We are getting a lot of donations in,” Ms. Orr said. “It is really cool how the community has stepped up.”

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