Being able to provide enough healthy food for children is a concern for many families, so if you’re struggling to put food on your family’s table, you’re not alone.

Nutrition so children can be their best

First Five is here for parents and other caregivers, because we know families need good nutrition to help children grow strong and succeed in all areas of life.

In addition to financial benefits and food pantries, you can find free programs that help you better stretch your food dollars and know which foods will best support your child’s development. Learn more here

Here are a few places to start if you need extra support:

Families eligible for SNAP receive an EBT card that works like a debit card at participating locations, with a monthly amount available to spend for food in stores and at farmers markets. [link to more info on First5]

SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, administered in this state by the SC Department of Social Services. It’s the federal program formally known as food stamps. Each month, nearly 300,000 households in South Carolina rely on SNAP to help them afford food. According to the non-profit, No Kid Hungry, half of the South Carolinians that benefit from SNAP are children. 

Households must meet criteria to be eligible. You can apply for SNAP and other services by using this single application provided by First Five. 

Specifically for pregnant women and children under age 5. WIC provides monthly funds for buying nutritious foods and breastfeeding support.

WIC can also help with infant formula, nutrition and health classes, and other services that can benefit the entire family.

Families receiving Medicaid, TANF, or SNAP already meet income eligibility requirements. Children in foster care under age 5 are automatically eligible for WIC. To check your eligibility, you can use the First5 application or contact WIC directly at 1-855-4-SCDHEC to apply. You can also find the WIC office in your county by searching here

Food banks, churches, and other organizations across the state operate emergency food pantries where anyone in need can get a week’s supply of groceries for free.

These pantries make food readily available to people who are having a crisis such as losing a job, having medical problems, or facing unexpected expenses that have wiped out their food budget.

Food assistance can be found at food pantries in the county where you live. Clemson University and SC Department of Health and Environmental Control have developed an online food pantry and resource map to better help families facing food insecurity. See the map here.

If you go to a pantry, be sure that you take your photo id showing your current address and proof of the birthdays of your household members.

Working families and households can apply for regular financial help to buy groceries. Food pantries can also fill the gap, especially when a family needs food now.