Working poor also benefit from assistance

7 years ago

The fight to end hunger in neighborhoods throughout the United States is often at the forefront of discussions varying from political debates to conversations at schools and in town meetings. Arguments regarding who deserves to receive assistance and in what form can often be volatile. A common misconception is that those who are employed should no longer benefit from assistance programs such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).

However, limiting the accessibility of these programs for those who are employed puts individuals and families at a greater risk for food insecurity, which can occur when people do not earn enough to purchase nutritional foods.

A diet consisting of mainly junk food and empty calories can lead to a variety of health problems in a person of any age, which is why it is imperative that nutritional assistance programs continue to be available to those who are employed yet struggling. Although it is crucial that benefits be available to the disabled and elderly, we must not forget our working poor. These people are struggling to put healthy meals on the table for themselves and their families, while also trying to meet other basic needs.

At a time when federal and state governments are concerned about putting people back to work, they should also be mindful that their programs help the employed stay on their feet. Pulling the plug on assistance once employment is attained, without consideration of a family’s needs, can result in discouragement and additional pressures on families who are trying to end the cycle of assistance. In order for change to occur, we must stop seeing a hand-up as a hand-out.

Kate Newman