When you visit either Southeast Area Farmers’ Market location, stop by and chat with LaDonna Brown, an intern with Heart of West Michigan United Way. She is on–site at the markets to provide information and sign people up for Bundled Benefits, a “one-stop-shop” approach to applying for food assistance, medical assistance, cash assistance, childcare and emergency services. “I think that the bundle benefits program will be a great asset to the community,” says Sheri Munsell, OKT market management team. “People will be able to sign up for the help that they need with a friendly and informative helper who knows the programs well, right there at the market.”
All residents applying for any kind of assistance must now enroll online via the MI Bridges system—even at the DHS offices. Instead of meeting with a person, applicants are steered to computer kiosks where they enter their information. They can also enroll using their own home computers, a library computer or at specific Bundled Benefit sites, like the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market. The website address is http://www.mibridges.michigan.gov.
Using a computer to apply for assistance can be an intimidating experience. This is why Ms. Brown is such a treasure. She is happy to work with neighbors navigating the new system for the first time—and she always makes their confidentiality a priority.
Don’t forget to stop by the Southeast Area Farmers’ Markets this weekend: 2 – 7 p.m. Friday at Gerald R Ford Middle School or 10 – 3 Saturday at Garfield Park. Both market locations accept cash, debit cards, EBT/SNAP, Double Up Food Bucks, WIC Project Fresh and Kent County Health Department coupons.