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Food Assistance


Food Assistance helps families stretch their food budgets to buy healthy food. The program is designed to increase nutritional levels and safeguard the health and well-being of Allen County residents. Benefits are distributed on a “Ohio Direction Card” which can be used like a debit card at the grocery store.

Healthy people under 60 can also participate in Food Assistance Employment and Training (FAET) while receiving food assistance to help them gain work experience and move toward self-sufficiency.

Ultimately, food assistance helps families meet their basic needs while adults work toward financial stability. Food Assistance (formerly known as the food stamp program) is known nationally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Do I Qualify?

Eligibility for food assistance is complex – based on income guidelines and family size – but both families and individuals may be eligible to receive food assistance.

You may qualify for benefits if your household’s gross monthly income is at or under 130% of the federal poverty guidelines. Some households may qualify if they have incomes over the limit if someone in the household is elderly or disabled. To get a better idea of if you may qualify, use the USDA’s food assistance calculator or apply for food assistance.


The Ohio Direction Card

Once families have been approved for food assistance, the Ohio Direction Card (also known as the Electronic Benefit Transfer EBT card) is issued and sent to the individual or family’s address. It can be used at most grocery stores across Allen County.

How does the card work?

The card looks similar to and works like a credit or debit card. It can be used in most any food store checkout line. Check with the grocery store you go to most frequently and ask how your card will work.

When users make eligible grocery purchases, they simply swipe the card through a reader at the register; the amount is deducted from the total monthly benefit amount. Remember that “eligible purchases” means food or food products but excludes alcohol, tobacco and food prepared to eat immediately, such as food at restaurants.

Learn More

To find out more information about the Ohio Direction Card, to check your account balance, review your transaction history, report that you are moving, or report a lost or stolen card call, 1-866-386-3071 or visit The Ohio Direction Card website.

Meeting the Work Requirement

Once a family or individual is approved for food assistance, adults of the family who are considered Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWD) must meet the work requirement in order to continue to receive food assistance.

An ABAWD is any individual who is:

  • At least 18 years old, but not yet 50,
  • Able-bodied,
  • Not pregnant, and
  • Not in an assistance group with a minor child.

There are several different ways to meet the work requirement.

  1. Work 20 hours per week.
  2. Participate 20 hours per week in a job search program (for a maximum of three months).
  3. Participate in a work experience program. The number of hours you must complete is the amount you are receiving in food assistance, divided by the State minimum wage.

See the Steps Toward Employment & Permanent Self-Sufficiency (STEPS) Program Packet 

Submit an Interim Report

After you begin receiving public assistance benefits, you will occasionally receive an interim report in the mail to update your case. It is very important that if you have received an interim report, you complete it quickly and on-time to ensure your benefits are continued. If you do not submit the interim report by the deadline, your benefits will be terminated.

If you have lost your interim report, or would prefer to submit it online, you can do so through the state portal below.


Program Enrollment and Benefit Information

For complete information about cash, food and medical assistance, you may want to review the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Program Enrollment and Benefit Information booklet.

The booklet may help you determine:

  • What types of services ODJFS offers
  • Frequently asked questions about applying
  • The difference between various Medicaid programs and services
  • Your rights and responsibilities
  • Information about state hearings
  • Penalties for providing false information or committing fraud
  • How we use social security numbers
  • Information about citizenship and immigration status
  • Your civil rights
  • And other helpful resources

Learn More

Non-Discrimination Statement

USDA Conducted Programs

All other FNS Nutrition Assistance Programs


If you believe you have been delayed or denied services because of your race, color, religion, disability, age, gender, sexual orientation or national origin, you may file a complaint within 180 days of the incident or treatment. For questions about how to file a complaint, call the ODJFS Bureau of Civil Rights, toll-free, at 1-866-227-6353. For more information, review the civil rights section of the ODJFS Program Enrollment and Benefit Information document.

State Hearings

If you disagree with any action on your case or if you believe ACJFS has not taken an action it should have, you may request a hearing by phoning the ODJFS Consumer Access Line at 1-866-635-3748, emailing your request to [email protected] or contact Allen County directly at (419) 228-2621 or [email protected].

To find out more about state hearings, please review the state hearing section of the ODJFS Program Enrollment and Benefit Information document.

Finding Food in an Emergency

There may be a waiting period for individuals and families applying for food assistance before they begin receiving benefits. If you need food help today, there are several resources available to assist you in the help that you may need.

The National Hunger Hotline

The National Hunger Hotline is a national service that can help you find food near your home. Call the hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) to get help or visit

United Way’s 211

Allen County residents can also call 211 to get help and access a variety of services. Callers can get help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information visit



Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen List

Soup Kitchens

Our Daily Bread

125 S. Central Avenue


Provides continental breakfast & hot lunch

Monday-Friday; 10:30a.m.-12p.m.


Christian Corner Community Center

1601 McClain Road


Provides meal services

Monday, Wednesday & Friday; 8a.m.-12p.m.






Adventist Food Pantry

1976 Spencerville Road, Lima


1st & 3rd Sunday of the month; 9a.m.-1p.m.

Photo ID for head of household & social security card for each household member required, current utility bill for proof of Allen County residence.


Allentown UMC

4900 Allentown Road, Lima


Last 2 Saturday’s of the month; 9a.m.-12p.m.

Photo ID for head of household & social security card for each household member required, current utility bill for proof of Allen County residence.


Cairo UM Church

210 W. Main Street, Cairo


2nd Saturday of the month; 10a.m.-12p.m./Following Wednesday 5p.m.-7p.m.

Photo ID for head of household & social security card for each household member required, current utility bill for proof of Allen County residence.


Christian Heritage Food Pantry

10430 Elida Road, Delphos


1st Thursday of the month; 10:30a.m.-1p.m.



Churches United Pantry (CUP)

129 S. Pierce Street, Lima


No set hours, client needs to call number above to see if volunteers are available – Or calendar is posted on the front door. Must bring photo ID for head of household, social security card for each household member & current utility bill to verify Allen County Residence.


Community Samaritans

215 W. 4th Street, Spencerville


3rd Friday of the month 9a.m.-11a.m. and the Thursday before 5p.m.-7p.m.

Must live in Spencerville School District or be a regular attendee of a Spencerville Church.  Client must bring a photo ID.


County Line Church of the Brethren

4227 N. Hardin Road, Harrod


Tuesdays; 10a.m.-1p.m.

Serves only people within a 10 mile radius of the church. Call the office at the number above to see if in the area.

Must bring a photo ID and a current utility bill to verify Allen County residence.


Faith Harvest @ Perry United Methodist Church

3250 E. Breese Road, Lima


Last 2 Saturday’s of the month; 9a.m.-12p.m.

Must bring a photo ID for head of household, social security card for each household member & a current utility bill to verify Allen county Residence


Good Ground WW Food Pantry

5300 Spencerville Road, Lima


3rd and 4th Saturday of the month 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.


In Faith Ministries Food Pantry

1575 E. High Street, Lima


Last Wednesday of each month 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


Judah Enterprises

1180 W. High Street, Lima

(419) 999-1615

3rd&4th Thursday of each month 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. & Meal Site Saturdays 11:00-12:00 p.m.


1802 S. Central Avenue, Lima


2nd and 4th Tuesday 8:30a.m.-1p.m.

Photo ID required


New Life Christian Ministries Food Pantry & Meal Site

220 W. Kibby St.


2nd and 4th Monday 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Last Saturday of each month 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.


Salvation Army

614 E. Market Street, Lima


Call for appointment Monday-Friday from 9a.m.-11:45a.m. or 1p.m.-2:45p.m.


St. Marks UMC

1110 N. Metcalf, Lima


Monday-Wednesday 9a.m.-12p.m.; Wednesdays 4pm.-6p.m.; Thursdays – Produce Only: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Can come every week. Photo ID required


St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry

928 S. Main, Lima


Open after the 10th of each month Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays 1p.m.-3p.m.


Veterans Food Pantry

810 W. North Street, Lima


Wednesday & Friday; 1p.m.-3:45p.m.

Photo ID & proof of Veteran Status or spouse/widow(er) of Veteran