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Stacy Fisher - My SNAP Journey Continues

By Stacy Neibling Fisher, Director of Marketing

I knew the SNAP Challenge (formerly food stamp) wouldn’t be easy, but I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Stacy Neibling Fisher Photo

Today I headed to my Leadership St. Joseph class, hosted by our local United Way. I was excited because I knew our class was going to tour beautiful downtown St. Joseph.  What I didn’t know was that my class was going to be treated to a delicious meal at the historic Benton Club. For those of you who don’t know, the Benton Club has AMAZING food. So there I was sitting in the Benton Club’s elegant dining room with my peanut butter sandwich and apple as my classmates dined on the most enticing meatloaf and mashed potatoes I’ve ever seen. And to make matter worse, they had bread pudding. Yes, bread pudding is my favorite dessert of all time. Never have I been so envious of someone else’s meal.

My situation, although tortuous, was comical at the time. My classmates and I joked back and forth about my simple meal as they dined on fine China. Despite our banter, it suddenly dawned on me what an impact my Challenge was having on those around me. Everyone at the table wanted to know why I wasn’t eating and what I meant by a “Challenge.”  So even though my stomach was growling, I took the opportunity to tell my table about the SNAP Challenge and how it allows a person to see how difficult it is to live on a food stamp budget. Many of my classmates wanted to know why I couldn’t accept free food. After all, our meal at the Benton Club as paid for. I quickly explained that not everyone has access to the type of social structures that allow for free meals like I could have dined on today. Nor do all people have a family structure that allows for free meals at a relative’s home.

Hunger is all around us. Often times we just don’t realize what it looks like. Hunger can affect anyone. One in six Americans suffer from food insecurity. In our region, that’s 51,000 people. While the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides monthly benefits to supplement the food budgets of families in need, in many cases the benefits are inadequate and families still struggle to put food on the table. This Challenge is allowing me to better understand what food insecurity might feel like. I don’t want this Challenge to seem like a publicity stunt or disingenuous.  I know that living on $4.50 a day for a week isn’t the same thing as trying to live on a food stamp budget every day of my life.  However, this Challenge is allowing me to gain some understanding of the struggles vulnerable families in our communities face each day. While it is impossible to fully comprehend the difficult decisions low-income families face, I hope taking the SNAP Challenge this September (Hunger Action Month) will help raise awareness about the issue of hunger in America and in our region.

Posted by Stacy Neibling Fisher - Wednesday, 09/18/13, 05:49 PM - Comments - Category: Advocacy

Comments

Comment by Stacy Neibling Fisher on September 20, 2013 - 10:46 AM
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It has been a real eye-opener for myself. I hope by sharing my experiences, it will open the eyes of others as well.

Thank you for your words of encouragement. They're very much appreciated.

Comment by Walter on September 18, 2013 - 09:28 PM

Real eye opener!

Comment by Sandi on September 18, 2013 - 10:02 PM

Can't imagine the challenges you are going thru, let alone the challenges of those who live that way day in - day out. What an experience. Proud of you :)

Comment by Trish Heath on September 18, 2013 - 11:08 PM
e-mail

Wow what a wonderful opportunity to share this experience with those that could possibly make a difference and to educate them in the world of hunger. The statistics are staggering to say the least but when heard from a colleague it can be more impressionable. Thanks for sharing your day and your experience.

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