Food Programs

CCJ is a leader in anti-hunger advocacy in Michigan. It works to expand awareness of and participation in federal programs, such as the Supplemental Food Assistance Program (formerly the Food Stamp Program) and WIC. CCJ is also dedicated to the expantion of school meal programs, and our work in the area can be found on our Child Nutrition Program page. 

Since CCJ began its statewide food stamp outreach work (now called "food assistance") in 2000, the number of people receiving food stamps has grown by 119% to more than one million people. According to the most recent data from the USDA, Michigan's food stamp participation rate, especially for working families, is among the highest in the nation.

CCJ successfully advocated with state policymakers to return the administration of Michigan's Summer Food Service Program to the Michigan Department of Education. Since the Department of Education resumed administration, the number of children participating in that program has been growing steadily.

CCJ works diligently to alleviate hunger here at home and nationwide. In collaboration with local and national anti-hunger groups, CCJ works to promote, strengthen, and influence hunger-related policy issues involving these programs:

  • Food Assistance Program (FAP)
  • Women, Infant, Children (WIC)
  • Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
  • Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
  • Emergency Food

A description of these programs in Michigan can be found in the Nourishing Michigan document.

CCJ provides advocacy services to FAP applicants and recipients in Michigan who are having a hard time getting or keeping their food benefits.

CCJ Helpline (800-481-4989)

As part of our anti-hunger work, CCJ offers a toll-free helpline to assist callers in determining whether they may be eligible for food assistance and the estimated amount to which they are entitled. Our helpline staff will also assist people who are having problems getting food assistance and keeping the benefits. Visit our Food Stamp Help website at: The Michigan Poverty Law Program, hosts the website, wrote the software for the calculator, and works with CCJ to keep the calculator updated.

Bilingual staff members are available to assist Spanish-speaking callers and we can accommodate callers speaking other languages through the use of the Language Line. The helpline is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. After hours or when lines are busy, callers can leave a voice mail message and our staff will generally return calls within one business day. The helpline is operated in partnership and with support from MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and Share Our Strength, Food Bank Council of Michigan.  For more information on these organizations, see Our Partners.

CCJ advocates both locally and on a national level to reduce barriers and increase participation in the Food Assistance Program.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is administered at the federal level by the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.  In Michigan, SNAP is called the Food Assistance Program and is administered by the Department of Human Services. 

What is Food Assistance?

The Food Assistance Program provides monthly food benefits to individuals or households that meet eligibility requirements. Food Assistance is issued on a debit card called the Bridge Card.  Each month Food Assistance benefits are automatically deposited into an account that can be accessed with the Bridge Card. The Bridge Card is used just like a debit card to purchase food.  Food Assistance can be used like money to purchase food items only.  Food Assistance benefits can not be redeemed for cash.

Are you Eligible?

CCJ offers two screening tools to determine eligibility. Individuals may either access our Food Assistance Calculator via the internet or contact the CCJ Helpline at 1-800-481-4989.

CCJ Helpline – CCJ offers a toll-free helpline number where callers from throughout Michigan can be advised on whether they may be eligible for Food Assistance and receive an estimate of their benefits.  Advocacy services are also available to individuals experiencing difficulties accessing benefits through the Department of Human Services. The helpline can accommodate non English-speaking callers.

Food Assistance Calculator – CCJ, in collaboration with Michigan Poverty Law Program, maintains an internet site that offers a “calculator” that can be used by most households to determine eligibility for Food Assistance and the amount of benefits the household should receive if eligible.  The site also offers helpful information on the Food Assistance Program.