Food Stamp Challenge – Day Three

Posted on Sep 18, 2014 in NEWS AND REPORTS | Comments Off on Food Stamp Challenge – Day Three

Food Stamp Challenge – Day Three

Today I met a friend for breakfast. I had oatmeal with raisins (and coffee!). I tried to pick one of the least expensive foods on the menu as I knew this would take away from the money I was budgeting for next week’s food. My friend actually ended up paying (thanks Ann!) And thank God for providing once again!

Day Three into the Challenge and I am still thankful for the opportunity. It’s one thing to talk about the hardships people face… it’s another thing to experience them firsthand.

Today’s “challenge” I set for myself was to better understand the system our folks must enter into to receive food stamp (SNAP) assistance.

I called our friends at the Jefferson County Ohio Jobs and Family Services and learned that you can now apply for assistance online.

If someone has internet access they can visit this website to test their eligibility, sign up to receive benefits, access their account, and get connected with other resources.

When I spoke with someone from Jobs and Family today they did allude to the fact that a large number of their clients do not have internet access. As a result, they end up doing a lot of applications by phone, sometimes in person, and also by sending the application to a client by mail. It was encouraging to know Jobs and Family staff work hard to meet a client where they are.

As much as I was able, I went through the process of testing my eligibility, applying for assistance and navigating through the online portal. It took some time for me to finish the process, but I found it relatively easy.

The more I thought about it though, how easy would it be for someone who is:

  • Homeless with no documentation, no “place of residence”
  • An immigrant, unaware of the system, let alone the language
  • Illiterate, unable to read the forms they are being asked to sign
  • A mom without childcare, trying to fill out the forms while her kids are getting antsy, hungry, unable to stay seated for a long period of time
  • Anyone without the internet, without transportation, without a phone?

A few years ago I went through the Bridges Out of Poverty training – even became a trainer myself. Learning the concepts of “Bridges” helped me realize there are so many barriers to helping someone help themselves. I am thankful there are agencies, churches, organizations, and people who look out for those who need a hand every once in a while.

God let me be sensitive to the needs of others. May my patience ever increase and my compassion not run dry.