My husband was an accountant. With his financial expertise, we took pains to budget carefully for retirement — we prepared our whole lives for it, and had a comfortable savings.
So I wasn't prepared when we lost it all. My husband died right before 9/11. I was so wrapped up in grieving that I wasn't watching the stock markets. I didn't realize the funds we had worked so hard to save were disappearing. The money I planned on growing old with was no more.
I had to change my lifestyle completely — it was tough. Thankfully, I had my community to turn to for support. Through my involvement in church, I began learning more about food assistance programs, including SNAP. I was amazed. So many people in our community were struggling — including myself, and yet, so many of us had no idea this program was available.
I applied for SNAP, and the extra assistance I now receive goes a long way. Our farmers market gives us vouchers that double the worth of SNAP — making it possible to purchase the fresh produce I need to stay healthy.
SNAP has been a blessing in my life. So much so, that I volunteer my time to educate others on the program. I am especially passionate about sharing this program with other seniors. Learning to swallow our pride is hard for my generation, but I want them to know that it's worth it. We've worked hard our whole lives and paid taxes. There's nothing wrong with getting the extra help you need now to enjoy your golden years.