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NOEP Coordinator Helps Food Insecure Households

SNAP benefits, commonly known as food stamps

NOEP stands for Nutritional Outreach Education Program. The job of the Coordinator is to help people access needed benefits. The position is made possible through Hunger Solutions NY which offers free, confidential, one-on-one services that help hungry New Yorkers get nutrition assistance. NOEP Coordinators are based in community agencies like Unity House but travel within the community quite a bit. They help applicants gather documentation for, fill out, and send in an application for SNAP benefits, commonly known as food stamps.

Unity House’s NOEP Coordinator, Uzma Popal, is a familiar face to those who have visited the Unity House dining room where a midday meal is served. Uzma has been a volunteer in our kitchen many times through her volunteer work with the Muslim Soup Kitchen Project. Founded in 2003 by a group of Muslim students from RPI, the group has grown from a small effort to a big one with the 200+ member group serving meals in soup kitchens across the Capital Region as well as other projects. At Unity House, the group was instrumental in helping to secure a donated freezer dedicated to storing Halal meat and they have served many a nutritious meal in the dining room.

Are you a Rensselaer County resident and need Food Stamps? Contact Uzma Popal at (518) 274-2607 ext. 4108

About Food Insecurity

Technically defined by the USDA as “when consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year”, food insecurity affects more than 42 million Americans nationwide. A staggering 13 million of those are children.

SNAP benefits are an important part of the nationwide food security safety net and are a tested government benefit program available to almost all households with low incomes. However, securing needed benefits can have its challenges. That’s why the role of the NOEP Coordinator is so important: Uzma can go out into areas of the community that may not have be ability to visit the Dept. of Social Services or a community resource center like Unity House. She can answer questions and help with certification, re-certification and questions about benefits. With her thorough knowledge of the program, she can even help with understanding denials and help with filing of appeals. She is very much an advocate for individuals and families in need.

You can find Uzma at The Front Door, Unity House’s community resource center located at 2431 sixth Avenue in Troy. One advantage of having a home base in Unity House is that consumers can access other services while here: a community meal or a visit to the food pantry, for example. Of course, there are other Unity House services and programs for those who might benefit.

For more information on food stamps and NOEP, Unity House’s food programs, or other Unity House services, please contact Uzma Popal at (518) 274-2607 x4108.

Many thanks to Uzma for all she does for those in need. We have always appreciated her volunteer service and are thrilled to also count her as a colleague.