Getting Food Assistance in a SNAP 

Want to find out if you qualify for SNAP? Contact Samuel Gaedke at 646-946-0095 or 

Applying for SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps, can feel daunting. Samuel Gaedke makes it easy.  

“People tell me, ‘I don’t qualify. I’ve tried before.’  I talk to them for two or three minutes and I say, ‘I believe you’re qualified,’” he said.

“For me, when somebody gets the benefit, that’s the best part of the job. When I can call someone up and say, hey, you’ve been approved, in a way I feel like I won the lotto.” 

Gaedke runs our Nutrition Outreach and Education Program (NOEP), and it’s his job to make sure everyone who qualifies for SNAP in Manhattan can get it. The work takes him to community fairs and events across the borough, where he does quick screenings of three or four minutes—in English or Spanish—to find out if people are likely to be eligible.  

If he determines that they probably qualify, he helps them throughout the entire process, including solving any issues that may come up: “I’ll turn over any rock to seek a solution.” 

Why are people who qualify for SNAP not getting it? Gaedke says people often go through the application process once and then give up.  

“They may have applied years ago and they don’t realize that the income limits go up annually,” he explained. “Or they don’t know there are special eligibility rules for groups like older adults, people with disabilities, and people who have childcare costs.” People also think the application process is more complicated than it really is, he added, or that you need a lot of documentation (often you don’t). 

Angela Harmon is one of Gaedke’s happy customers. She had been between jobs for a while when someone handed her a NOEP flyer and she called to make an appointment. “Samuel immediately made me feel at ease,” she recalled. “I came into his office and it was like teamwork.” 

Having SNAP has been a huge relief, she said—especially when it comes to feeding her daughter. 

“She gets out of school and she’s hungry and that for me was the hardest part, when I didn’t have snacks for her. To be able to provide nutritious snacks and then we can eat dinner and be ready for the next day—knowing that I don’t have to worry about food—it’s been a game-changer.” 

SNAP can be used to buy a wide variety of groceries, as well as pretty much any food that isn’t hot: cold sandwiches at a bodega, for instance, or salads and sliced deli meats at the grocery store. You can use an Electronic Benefits Transfer card (EBT) to pay; it works like an ATM card.  

If you have questions about SNAP or would like to find out if you’re eligible, contact Samuel Gaedke at 646-946-0095 or