Good morning friends of Care and Share!
Care and Share is dedicated to reaching our neighbors at risk of hunger in many ways, including SNAP outreach and application assistance. SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-formerly known as food stamps) is responsible for helping millions of low-income individuals access adequate amounts of nutritious food despite financial limitations.
Elizabeth Martin, Care and Share’s SNAP Analyst, works hard to set up permanent SNAP access sites in our service area, provide annual training for all outreach sites, and develop communication as the primary contact for SNAP Outreach in Southern Colorado. Last year, Elizabeth and her team reached nearly 800 individuals in need of additional food assistance. She is on track to double that number during our current fiscal year.
Elizabeth wants you to know that “SNAP is a hand up and not a handout,” emphasizing the fact that families that use SNAP benefits are required to uphold strict federal guidelines, complete at least 20 hours of community service each month, and are only using the benefits for about 8-9 months on average. In Colorado, the average monthly benefit for each individual equates to about $121 per month, which breaks down to $1.34 per meal. SNAP’s incredible impact is not just on individuals, but also provides economic benefits to communities.
Elizabeth’s job is not easy, but it is rewarding. She says that “Knowing that in some small way we as a team are making a difference in someone’s life” is what keeps her going. People like Ruben keep her going.
Ruben and his wife Anita recently relocated to Colorado Springs from Texas to spend time with their daughter and grandchildren. Ruben just began treatment for Stage Four cancer and is extremely ill, which means he can no longer work. He hasn’t been unemployed since he was 18 and he felt like he was not only a burden on his family, but was also going to become a “user” of the system.
Elizabeth processed and completed their SNAP application with supporting documentation and they parted with tears and words of thanks and encouragement. Seven days later, Ruben called to let Elizabeth know how his treatment had been going and to tell her he was approved for full benefits. Certainly a welcome relief for this family during a very difficult time!
For more information about SNAP, please click here.