SNAP Success Story: Stephanie H.
Stephanie is our first-ever guest blogger and hopes that her SNAP success story might help others who are experiencing food insecurity. After reading about her experience, we hope you’ll see how vital the SNAP program is, and the positive benefits it can have in our communities. From time to time, we will invite other guest bloggers to share their experiences with the food assistance safety net.
“I am a SNAP success story!”
Back in 2008, I was just out of college, working 40 hours-per-week as an editorial assistant, when my life was blessed with the arrival of my daughter, Jadyn.
I was a single mom, and after adjusting my budget to cover my living expenses (rent, utilities, etc.) it was amazing how quickly I realized just how much food can take out of a family’s budget. I’m not talking about eating at restaurants here, I’m talking about not having enough to have three full meals a day.
I adjusted, having tea in the morning, a snack for lunch and a very light dinner. But there were many days when my only “meal” was my morning tea.
Things were rough, and the reality of single motherhood hit hard and swiftly. However, I lived below my means, and despite it all tried my best to simply enjoy those precious moments of the new life I had just brought into the world. As long as Jadyn had enough to eat, I told myself it was OK.
But it really wasn’t. Working more hours wasn’t an option, as I was already putting in full days, and I had to care for Jadyn in the evenings.
Luckily, a friend of mine told me that she was benefitting from a program called SNAP, and that I should look into it. I am glad that I did!
I said to myself “I am a SNAP success story!”
Without SNAP benefits, I would have been completely at the mercy of my family and friends. Luckily, I come from a long line of matriarchs and I have some good friends who were willing to help out, but I don’t think I would have been able to keep my own place without SNAP. Or, I may have had to move to an area that did not have access to decent childcare or was not as safe.
During those months that I was on SNAP, I did learn some great tips and tricks, ones that I still use. I got with other moms to create meal plans and started to make big meals on Sundays that would last us for a few days.
When I meet other moms who are in the same situation I was before, I tell them “Try your best to get over the shame, talk about it — you’ll be surprised how many others in your circle are food insecure and how many people are willing to help you.”
Jadyn is now nine years old, and I still work in the publishing industry. My life is nicely settled, and I no longer need the help of SNAP. I am doing well, but I still rarely have extra income to donate to charitable causes. However, I want to instill a charitable heart in my daughter, so I try to give my time to causes that ring true to me, such as the libraries, volunteer tutoring, and the Maryland Food Bank.
A friend of mine is a former truck driver for the food bank, and he reminded me that after the holidays, the “giving spirit” tends to die down, and that’s when places like the food bank need more help. I wanted to do something more with my hands than my mind and the volunteering management system made it really easy to volunteer according to my schedule.
It was interesting, someone at the food bank called me a “SNAP success story.” While I had never thought of myself that way, it made me feel good. I thought about it for a bit and I said to myself “I am a SNAP success story!”
I’m really not sure where I would be right now if I didn’t have SNAP when I needed it.
Do You Have Your Own Success Story?
Know of anyone who’s success story should be celebrated? Tell us about them.
About The Author
Stephanie H. is a single mother who works full time in the acquisitions/development division of Brookes Publishing. She is also a contracted editorial consultant for Johns Hopkins University. Stephanie found that the temporary assistance that SNAP provided really helped smooth some of the bumps on her road to self-sufficiency.
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Programs, campaigns, and educational outreach at the Maryland Food Bank has always relied on the philanthropic support of charitable individuals like you.
Much like our food distribution efforts, outreach activities at the Maryland Food Bank rely on generous donations of money and time.
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