For years I held a miniature food shelf in my garage. My husband and I run a daycare for low-income families. About three times a week someone would ask me for help. I led them to my garage and said take whatever you need. We had more than enough.
Then the economy crashed. Our daycare attendance dropped from 12 kids to 5, and our income from $4000 a month to less than $1000. In a matter of months, we were destitute.
One day I opened up the fridge and it was empty. I really didn't want to apply for food stamps, but I couldn't let my little girl go hungry — even if it meant swallowing my pride. It is hard, but I am grateful to have food stamps. It's nice to know my daughter is taken care even when we can't fully provide for her on our own.
Education is the only way I can think of to pull my family up out of poverty. Right now I am enrolled in graduate school full time — on top of operating the daycare. It's my dream that when I graduate, we can be self-sufficient again. Not only that, but that we can give back again as well. I want to be able to give my time and attention to people who are trying to change their circumstances. When you're down and out, it takes a lot of support to turn your life around.
This week, the Feeding America blog is focused on sharing the promise of SNAP in the lives of the people we serve. Chelle's story is one snapshot into one family's real-life struggle to get enough to eat and how SNAP benefits helped them get by.
Chelle first contributed to the Feeding America blog in June, with guest post Growing Hope.
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