I am going to snap if I hear one more person say how wonderful it is that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has lost some of its funding and is giving people less money, and therefore pushing them to do more to get more income instead of living off the government. Apparently these people don't know that perhaps many people they know receive SNAP benefits. Perhaps they don't have a concept of what this program, designed to assist with the purchase of food, not pay for all the food for the family, really is and does. Maybe they have their heads in the sand as to the reality of most of the families in need of help putting food on their tables.
I've heard of people who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance or who visit food pantries referred to as "Those People." Scary Mommy's" post this morning really hit the nail on the head - I encourage you to read it. No one should be referred to as Those People. I could be one of Those People. Your sister, your son, your best friend, your neighbor, your co-worker ... they could ALL be one of Those People.
I have heard it assumed that SNAP provides one hundred percent of the food for the family. It couldn't be any further from the truth. It is a supplemental program, not a meet-all-the-family's-food needs program. A family I know currently receives approximately $3 a day per family member for food. That's $21 per week per family member for 21 meals plus snacks, assuming they don't have any other money for food. If they spend one dollar per meal on food, there's nothing left for snacks. Nothing. What type of nutritional meal can you make for a dollar that will sustain a person until their next meal?
But that's not all. As of November 1, this family will now be receiving $2 per day per person. That's about 66 cents per meal, without snacks. $14 per week per person. Even doubling that, which happens to be approximately the average person's new SNAP benefit (less than $1.40 per meal per person), is probably far below what you spend per week on your groceries for yourself. Just think of what kind of Thanksgiving this family will have.
And although I mentioned that this is a supplemental program, not meant to cover all food costs, the reality for some families, even those working two or three jobs, is that their income isn't enough to pay for a roof over their head, clothing, school or homeschool supplies, medical costs not covered by insurance, gas, vehicle upkeep, car insurance, electricity, heat, and the list goes on - basic necessities - nevermind food. This means SNAP is their food budget. This means families go hungry. Families that work, pay taxes, volunteer in their communities, and do all those things we're all "supposed" to do. Families just like yours.
But there are food pantries, you say! And yes, there are, but some families can't get transportation or afford bus fare to get to their local food pantry. Some local food pantries are in another town. Some have food allergy issues or medically indicated food needs in their families that preclude them from taking much of what is offered in food pantries. It is uncommon for a food pantry to offer fresh fruits and vegetables and meats, which are the healthiest and most expensive foods. And even with what food pantries can offer, with the reduction in SNAP benefits, it most likely wouldn't be enough to get by.
“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:37-40)
And when you judge someone for needing help - maybe you do that to Him, too.
So please, don't judge. Get the facts. Donate to your local food pantries. And check out these links...
http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-facts.aspx (take the quiz!)
http://www.scarymommy.com/thanksgiving-2013/ (please help if you can)