Thousands of Calhoun and Kalamazoo County residents are breathing a bit easier today. The emergency food assistance they've been receiving is being extended for at least this month. The State of Michigan has obtained the approval of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to keep the emergency food assistance going out to about one million Michigan residents throughout the state.

The supplemental funding was set to run out this month. And the state needs to apply every month it wants to keep the food assistance program in place. An estimated 350,000 families in Michigan are currently receiving help through the program.

The Health and Human Services Department in Lansing says the Food and Nutrition Service of the Agriculture department has been pivotal in keeping those families afloat as they face financial hardships created by the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

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The department says recipients will see the added month’s benefits begin to show up on their Bridge cards beginning Saturday the 20th. Some may not see the funds appear before Tuesday the 30th, the next to last day of the month.  The supplemental funds will show separate from food assistance sent out earlier this month. The state reports 1.3 million Michigan residents are now receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funding. It’s paid out through Michigan’s Food Assistance Program.

The new round of additional payments will be going out to those who are not already receiving the maximum amount of funding approved for the number of people living in the household.  The supplemental funding this month brings all eligible residents up to the maximum. The 350,000 households in line for the supplemental increase amounts of nearly half of the over 707,000 households in the state that get food assistance.  Maximum monthly benefits run from $234 for a single person to $1,408 for a family of eight. The state says families eligible to receive the supplemental funding do not need to do anything to receive the extra money.

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