Last week, our food stamps team received the following letter from a recent client. A portion of it is reprinted here with her permission. Rhonda has spent years working hard to try to get herself to a place of financial self-sufficiency but isn’t there yet.
Years ago, my brother-in-law suddenly passed away. Consequently, my husband had a mental breakdown and moved in with his mother, who was having her own mental issues. I was left with my husband’s bills, the mortgage, insurance payments, car payments, utility bills, etc.
I went to the bank to get money for food. The bank teller said “insufficient funds!” No money for food!
Thank God for Just Harvest and their food stamp advocates’ help.
I have a SafeLink Wireless phone and at the time only received 137 minutes a month. When I would call PA’s Department of Human Services I would be put on long holds or transferred to someone who transferred me again and disconnected! It took 27 phone calls just to renew my food stamps!
But since getting Just Harvest’s advocacy I don’t have to use all my minutes. Sometimes DHS would say my renewal info was not in on time or some of it was missing or they never received any of the info. But Just Harvest would have the confirmed fax and call DHS to see if they received all the info on time.
Just Harvest and the food stamp program are really vital to people like me who can’t afford a computer, let alone the internet, or a smartphone to access COMPASS or DHS caseworkers. I don’t feel safe using library computers; people walking by or right next to you can see your whole screen. A lot of us can’t afford the gas or to make copies at 25 cents each and then take it to get faxed. One time the DHS sent a 27-page yearly renewal form. The library only prints one-sided and some faxes only send one side at a time. That’s a lot of money. A lot of people have a very hard time just getting the paperwork together.
I desperately need the food stamp program, food every month, and Just Harvest especially.
Thank you and God Bless to everyone who has ever helped me.
For thirty years, Just Harvest has helped to make SNAP accessible to everyone who is eligible for nutrition assistance but is unable to navigate the program’s complex bureaucracy. We work at the state and federal level to improve and protect SNAP and other safety net programs so they’re there when life circumstances cause people to need them. Our public policy advocacy also aims to expand access to job training, increase the minimum wage, make our tax system more fair, and advance other important policies to help those who are struggling to get by.