Real Stories from Real People. This one is from Madison County, told in her own words.
We were a middle class family – just normal. My mom worked and we never wanted for food.
I never even knew about food stamps when I was a kid. I never knew they existed. I didn’t know anybody on them – or I might have known them, but I didn’t know they were on food stamps. We lived in a small town.
When I got out of high school, I was just going to get a job and work, ‘cause that’s what my mom did. So I did that. I’ve worked all my life – until I had my daughter. Then I was able to stay home because my husband was making enough money.
Then my husband became disabled. We had to move, downsize and make things simpler – we had too many bills. I was planning to go back to work…and that’s when I found out I had breast cancer and everything just…changed.
We took a loss, but we were able to sell the house before we lost it, but things were getting worse and worse. We were really struggling week to week, day to day. I called the American Cancer Society and they suggested that I go in to the Madison County DSS to find out about the resources and programs there.
It was very traumatic for me to go in and put myself out there like that – I was crying – but the ladies there were really nice, they understood. Still, it was hard.
At first it was hard with the little card – you use it and you feel like people are looking at you. But you know what? I’ve given a lot over the years, and I deserve to ask for a little bit of help. I don’t mind it now. I think if you need the help, you should be able to ask for it.
I never thought I’d be in a place that I thought I’d have to ask for help. I had to do what I had to do to feed my family.
One thing that’s hard is fresh fruits and vegetables. They’re very expensive. I was told while going to chemo to eat A LOT of fruits and vegetables. That’s the hardest part – to find decent ones that don’t cost a lot of money.
When you’re trying to save money, things that aren’t good for you are the cheapest things to buy – and that’s really what you shouldn’t be eating, but you have to eat some of that stuff sometimes.
I wish produce was a lot cheaper. This year we’re going to start a garden.
I know a lot of people look down on people with food stamps, or they have a certain idea of what kind of people are on food stamps, so I wanted to share my story. A lot of people in America are having to get food stamps. I see children out there that are hungry. Don’t look at them with pity or look down on these people, they need help. It’s a matter of life and death for some people. Once you’re in those shoes, you realize what people are going through and what they need to get through everyday life.
They need food.