Today is a sad day for IL families who need the benefits from the SNAP program.
The SNAP program is part of the Federal program that was part of a farm bill that was recently under the pressure from the Republicans in Congress. The budget cuts were part of a $5 billion cut nationally in food stamps -the first across-the-board reduction in the history of the decades-old federal program. As a result,more than 2 million families in Illinois have been affected - young and old. Many of them have families that simply do not make enough money to put food on the table. The elderly will have make a very difficult and painful decision whether to buy their prescription medications or buy food so they can eat. The SNAP program cuts hurt people's ability to survive when they are at low point of their lives or unable to care for themselves.
No person should be making those tough decisions. It completely breaks my heart to see people have suffer because of matters placed in the control of the members of Congress. Personally, I have had to use SNAP program about 11 years ago when my children's father and I divorced and I was in the transition to return to work after years of being a homemaker and full-time mother to my children. It is not an easy decision to do, but I needed some help in order to feed my children. I was only on the program for 7 months and was able to get off the program after re-establishing myself with a new job and steady income coming in.
It is important with these cuts that we can not forget about these families who have been affected. It is our responsibility as a community to serve others who need our help. We cannot allow them to feel alone during this very stressful time. This is a time for everyone to step up and show that we care. The cuts also affect merchants like grocery store and little mom-n-pop supermarkets that service those who use their SNAP program benefits to buy food. It will be part of a trickle down affect that many people may not be aware of.
Below are some great idea of ways that you can help your community:
- Donate food to your local food shelf. - The food shelves are going to be feeling more of a pinch as people will be using them more to get their food that families and individuals could have gotten on their own using their SNAP program benefits. Food shelves are now worried about not being able to keep up with the demand.
- Volunteer your time at a local food shelf. - The local food shelves are always looking for help and it is a great way to see how they make a strong difference in your own community.
- Donate to the United Way. - The money donated can help fund programs to help feed those who need it the most including the elderly and disabled.
- Donate your time to a local soup kitchen. - Spend a day helping those who need a warm meal and a place to hang out during this time of the year.
There are probably more ideas that I could be coming up with that you can be more creative in help those are less fortunate. With the holidays coming up, this is a very difficult time to struggle to buy food. Remember to give others and be appreciative of what you have instead of what you do not have.