Hunger Stories: Ashley and Darla
Ashley and Darla are two people for whom SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) has provided opportunities to lift themselves out of shattering situations. These circumstances are not necessarily unique to them. We hear similar stories quite frequently. Many of us can relate to being one paycheck away from needing help.
Recently, a young woman named Ashley called the Food Bank’s SNAP helpline in tears. Her husband had supported their family of five with a middle class income when he suddenly lost his job. Ashley reached Darla Feeback, our AmeriCorps SNAP Outreach Specialist, and sobbed over the phone that she just had a baby. She further explained, “I never in my life thought I would need assistance.”
Through the conversation, Darla was able to listen to Ashley and help her prioritize the steps she needed to take to expedite her application. She had already posted her application to DHS, but had thus far not received her benefits. Ashley was beginning to panic that she wouldn’t be able to provide for her infant and two other children.
Darla’s ability to answer questions and focus the process in easy steps helped calm Ashley and enabled her to move forward. Darla observed, “I think it was hard for her to swallow the recognition that she was going to need help.”
As the two discussed the whole situation, Darla was also able to help Ashley identify some other programs Ashley might find helpful in order to take care of her family until her husband found new work. Darla feels, “Working for the SNAP Program is a privilege. I can help people and give them hope that it’s going to turn around and get better.”
Darla is our AmeriCorps SNAP Outreach Specialist. Darla knows firsthand about navigating through the SNAP system. She learned a great deal about the process and how to better accommodate those needing assistance. “The SNAP Program is something I hold near and dear. My family and I are beneficiaries of the SNAP Program. For six years I was without work and even when I started working, there was still not enough.
If it wasn’t for the SNAP Program, I would not have been able to earn an associate’s degree in business, adequately provide for my boys, or currently work towards the completion of my bachelors’ degree in accounting.
“There is sometimes a stigma over the SNAP program. People can assume you are taking advantage. There are a lot of families like Ashley that thought they would never need to call out for help, but that’s why programs are there—to help in your time of need. I’m glad I can help people who are struggling, but don’t know where to go. I can help bridge the gap.”
If you need assistance with SNAP information or help with the application process, contact Darla Feeback at 918-936-4566 or firstname.lastname@example.org.