I have experienced poverty firsthand, growing up in the “projects” with my parents struggling to make ends meet. My dad worked 40+ hours each week to provide for my family, while my mom played an equally important role of caring for my siblings and me. I slept in the same bed with my siblings for many years because we could not afford to have our own space. We eventually moved to a house after my parents’ years of hard work. During those times, I never once considered myself living in poverty. I had a roof over my head and food on the table.
Fast-forward 15+ years; I’m currently working at Hunger Free Colorado, a nonprofit organization working to connect the community to food resources. I started learning all the specifics about food stamps, federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), such as the income requirements for the different household sizes, amount of benefits that you receive, allowable deductions and so on. Factoring in my family size and income, we received a benefit allotment that played a large role in our obtaining food to help feed our family.
Food stamp benefits are meant to be supplemental to your monthly spending on groceries, but for some individuals, this safety net program may be all that they have. When individuals are facing tougher times in their lives, they need a hand to get back on their feet. Food stamps not only provide food on the table but help families get back on their feet; it did mine.
Call the statewide food resource hotline toll-free at (855) 855-4626 to be connected to food resources — from nutrition assistance programs to emergency food providers and free meal sites.
Jessica Nguyen is an AmeriCorps VISTA who currently works at Hunger Free Colorado with the Older Adult Nutrition team. She holds a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Missouri. This first appeared as a guest post on Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado’s blog.