The Mid-County Regional Service Center (RSC) serves a population of approximately 220,000 individuals and businesses in an area that extends from the Beltway to Howard County and includes such communities as Ashton, Aspen Hill, Brookeville, Capital View, Derwood, Forest Glen, Glenmont, Kemp Mill, Kensington, Layhill, Norbeck, Olney, Sandy Spring, Upper Rock Creek, and Wheaton.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The last two days, I've been met with mixed reactions as I explain why I'm doing the SNAP the Silence challenge.  Some are excited to hear that we are trying to raise awareness about the challenges of low-income families in Montgomery County.  Others seem to think that its disingenuous emphasizing that people don't live on $5/day.  They have stressed that the program is a Supplemental program, which is what the S in SNAP represents. So I've decided to do some investigation to demystify the word.

To qualify for the SNAP program, a family of 4 needs to earn $30,000 gross according to the federal standards.  In return, they will receive $668/month to buy food for their family-which is approximately $20/day for the family or $5/day per person.  They may be able to utilize the rest of their income to buy food, but remember they still have to pay for housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, medical expenses, child care, toilet paper, etc.    

So I suspect the word Supplemental means it’s not supplementing their food budget but rather, their income to ensure that they can eat. 

We have a lot to learn about how our low-income families are living around us. Each day that I participate in this challenge, I’m forced to do more than just eat off $5/day.  I'm learning to research and explore what it really means to live with minimal means, leaving me face to face with numbers and stories that are uncomfortable to ignore.  And by doing so, I'm no longer the same.

1 comment:

Nehemiah said...

Thanks for the demystification, Anna. Nice work. I can't help but wonder what those who claim that that by taking the SNAP challenge, those of us who are participating are in some way disingenuous are actually doing to learn about, raise awareness about or working to change the systemic reality of those who live poverty in this county.I don't mind criticism, but I'm able to recive it better if it is given while real work is being done by the one who is giving it. Just a thought from a guy who is a little surly because I've only eaten a bowl of chicken stew all day.