SNAP cuts: Another challenge grandmother faces daily

April 5, 2023

As if life weren’t challenging enough for Aisha – not her real name, she knows that she’s resigned to coping with the recent cut to her SNAP benefits. The COVID emergency supplement attached to the SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as food stamps – expired March 1. A 15 percent decrease in benefits coupled with increased food prices associated with inflation means additional struggles for this disabled Wilmington grandmother who is raising her 12-year-old grandson. She now receives $150 in benefits monthly. “It’s hard to believe a pack of chicken is $20. This is a really big cut, and everything was already high, then everything went up,” Aisha said.

Aisha has been working with Ciera, one of the Food Bank of Delaware’s Benefits Outreach Coordinators. Ciera, who assists Delaware residents complete SNAP and state benefit applications says she “anticipates an influx of calls. . .” as the month draws to an end.

“I make sure they know their options . . . mobile pantries, Healthy Pantry Center, home delivery . . . to fill in the food gaps. I also give them a link to 211,” Cierra said. “I send an email to all my clients to 211 – the state Helpline – to navigate issues, like housing, that we don’t serve. As far as SNAP, I’m trying to get information out there.”

Like many neighbors, Aisha, who lives in downtown Wilmington, deals with daily transportation and housing issues. “I struggle to get to the store even though it’s right behind us. I have to pay someone $50 to get to my doctor appointments. Yes, there’s a bus, but when I call they say they don’t have drivers. I have to do what I have to do, and it cuts in really deep.”

While Aisha is grateful she hasn’t seen a rent increase, she notes her apartment building is condemned. “Living here is a mess. I have to deal with mice, with roaches, with water leaks. The tub doesn’t work,” she said. She mentions there’s always a threat of violence signaled by the sounds of gunshots. “I’m in the heart of it. I’ve lost a lot of people to gun violence. It’s a way of life.”

Melissa, another Benefits Outreach Coordinator, also expects to hear from more neighbors in the near future. “It hasn’t been a huge deal yet, but we will find out. I know people are struggling with food costs. I had one client call me to say he was thankful for the $23 minimum SNAP benefits and the Amazon boxes. People are struggling to make do. I tell them ‘We have other resources for you.’ We have to make sure they are aware.”

Meanwhile, Aisha said she appreciates the support she’s received from the Food Bank of Delaware staff. “Miss Ciera is very respectful. She made the process easier, and communication was very excellent. She took me through everything. I am thankful for the help; it made things better for us. Yes, I’m still struggling, but I appreciate it. People should know not to treat us any kind of way; she treated me with respect.”

Click here to contact one of our Benefits Outreach Coordinators.

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