Today, people around the country are speaking out using #TheseCutsHurt on social media to raise awareness about how proposed budget cuts will hurt their families, children, communities, and this country as a whole.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) is our nation's greatest defense against hunger. We advocate throughout Pennsylvania to keep SNAP and other programs that support low-income families strong. This summer, we made our way to Centre County and Clinton County and heard stories from many people who use SNAP to help make ends meet. Printed here with permission, are just a handful of those stories.
I am a senior citizen and my wife and I are the only members of our household. We applied for SNAP this year because I recently retired and I receive Social Security but no pension. It just wasn't enough to make it each month.
We don't qualify for much on SNAP, so the food bank also helps us make sure we get plenty of food food.
If our SNAP benefits were cut, we would probably be short at the end of the month for either our food or rent. That would be awful. Please vote against the proposed cuts and help your constituents get the food that they need. Take good care of the seniors, we need the help each month.
There are five of us in our family and we have had a SNAP card for the past six months. We applied because it had become a matter of "pay our bills" or "buy our food". We receive $100 each month and it goes toward food staples.
Joseph, who is with me today, was recently diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes Type 1. if the cuts get voted in, it would be very difficult to provide food for our family. And even harder to buy some of the food which are required for Joseph's diet. Because of his health problems, we are now worried about our health insurance coverage.
It would be a huge relief to know that our benefits were safe and the kids wouldn't go hungry.
State College, Pennsylvania
Several years ago when my brother and I were much younger, our family struggled so much. My mom, a single parent, was born in Canada and had just recently gotten her United States citizenship.
She was working a full time job that paid minimum wage, but the rent and our other bills were simply way too high to make ends meet.
Sometimes we were scared that our electricity would be shut off and so my mom applied for food stamps. And they proved to be our safety net and security.
This is what my mom wanted us to understand: no matter what economic hardships we were going through, we could always count on food to eat each day.
Not only did that thought comfort my brother and I, but it was a huge relief to my mom. She always loved to cook, and mom worked hard to make certain she used the benefit amount to shop carefully and prepare healthy meals for us. She is now the owner of a catering business!
It also helped that my brother and I were eligible for the free lunch program at school, and we were able to get extra bags of groceries from the State College Food Bank.
SNAP helped us. And it is my hope that the assistance program will continue to give families, especially children, food security for as long as its needed.
Pleasant Gap, Pennsylvania
There are three of us living in our home. I applied for SNAP assistance when I found that it was becoming impossible to pay all of my bills and have money leftover to provide food for myself and my kids.
SNAP helps me a lot, especially in the summer when I am laid off of work and the kids are home from school. The days that they are able to participate in the summer lunch program also help.
I try very hard to use my SNAP card, along with what I receive here at the food bank, to always make sure I am giving my children nutritious meals so that they can stay healthy.
Please don't cut the program. I never want to have to tell my children that we don't have good food to eat.
I am a senior, and a veteran. I served in the Army from 1970-1973. I live alone and receive SNAP.
Once I pay for all of my other bills, I really can't afford to buy all of the groceries that I need for myself each month. I am glad I can come to the food bank for the extra food I need.
If the SNAP budget was cut, I would have less food to eat. I would have to make my food stretch a lot more each month, and the food that I would eat would probably not be as healthy.
Please keep the SNAP benefits coming. You may not think it means all that much to us, but it really does.
We have been on the SNAP program for two years now. There are four of us in our home, two parents and two kids. We had also received benefits prior to now, but were taken off because of our work earnings.
I am a hard worker, and have worked since I was fourteen years old. Right now, I work two jobs and during the school year I work about 40 hours per week. But during the summer months, I am lucky if I get 15 hours.
Our SNAP helps, but does not cover the cost of a month's worth of food, especially in the summer when the kids are home. The food bank helps us so much.
If SNAP is cut, we would end up having much less money to pay our other bills. Today I only had six dollars in my wallet and we didn't have any bread in the apartment. I don't get paid until Friday, but I was able to get bread, peanut butter, and jelly from the food bank to make sandwiches.
We don't need a ton of SNAP benefits, just enough to make sure we have healthy food to eat each day. Any cuts that the government would make would hurt us, especially the kids. Please stop penalizing those of us who try to work and make an honest living. As it stands now, with all of the bills we have to pay, including a babysitter in the summer, its just one thing after another. How are you supposed to ever get ahead? That's all I need, is just that little bit. I don't look for any riches.