WHEN FOOD STAMPS AREN’T ENOUGH
At $21 an hour, Bonnie had been making enough money at her company to support herself and her family. But when the company cut back on her hours, the single mother of three had to rely on food stamps to feed her family. And while the program allowed her to put food on the table, Bonnie found that she now couldn’t afford the healthier options her previous wages allowed her to buy.
About 14.5 percent of Americans — roughly 46.5 million people — rely on food stamps, but research shows that on average, participants consume fewer fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and more foods with added sugars than the general population. In addition, both children and adults on food stamps are less likely to eat three meals a day than those who aren’t enrolled in the program. Hunger and food hardship have long-term implications, including obesity, poor academic achievement, long-term economic costs, dental problems, low birth weight and mental health issues.
Bonnie knew she didn’t want this for her family, so she turned to United Way, which helped her catch up on rent and energy bills, leaving her with more money to prepare the nutritious meals her family needs and enjoys. According to Bonnie, she never wanted her children to see the struggle she was going through, and the United Way program helped restore her confidence. Now, she’s applying for a management position at her company — and she’s determined to get it.