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Working Families and Food Stamps

by Audra Aucoin, Foundation Relations

Monica Campos is a full time Medical Assistant in Orange County. Monica and her husband David, live in a two bedroom apartment in Garden Grove with their three children; two daughters age 13 and 7 and a 10 year old son.

In 2009, Monica’s husband had been laid off because the company he had been working for went out of business. Her husband had always been the primary provider for the family. They had not qualified for unemployment because David was able to find side jobs here and there to help make ends meet. They presumed that his diligent work ethic and strong resume would secure full time employment within a month. It has been a year and the side jobs have ceased.

Today is the first time Monica and David have ever applied or asked for assistance to make ends meet for their family.

Monica, like most recipients never thought her family would need the SNAP program. Monica’s gross income of $480 a week just is not enough to pay for medical expenses, school needs, utilities and food for her family of five.

With 70% of their income already earmarked for rent, they have had to adjust every aspect of their life, down to amount of milk they consume. The Federal Poverty Level is unchanging state to state; therefore poverty for a family in the small town of Kernville, Texas, is starving for a family in Orange County.

Monica found out about the workshop because her co-worker, Patricia received a Second Harvest Food Bank SNAP flyer at an Outreach site. Patricia brought the flyer to work and explained that it would only take a five minute phone call and they would let her know if she was eligible. Monica thought, ‘The worst that could happen is they say no.’ Monica called and that is what brought her to the workshop today.

Within two hours she had completed her application, interview, background check and finger printing. She explained that while it was hard to ask for help, she has her family to think about.

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