(CNN Español) — Nearly 43 million people are applying for federal help to eat in the U.S. That number increased by 20% last year, prompting the government to allocate $ 90 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). also known as Food Stamps, to meet the needs of many Americans.
The new coronavirus pandemic has left millions without jobs. Many unemployed people found it necessary to seek help from the program, which had seen a reduction in applicants before COVID-19.
Food Stamps: A Help for Families in Need
Food stamps are a monthly help for the purchase of food for families who apply for and qualify for this benefit.
Zahira Díaz, works for the organization Colorado Without Hunger, who assists people who request help and advises on the options available to those who lack food. According to her, requests have increased four times.
“We are seeing this level of calls quite high. As you know, it has happened especially here in Colorado that many of our families who are people of color or Latino are experiencing a lot of job loss. So, being able to fall into something like the SNAP program or food stamps, we have seen a lot of change, ”said Díaz.
The organization Colorado Sin Hambre recently conducted a survey in which it highlights that in that state, 52% of Latinos or non-whites have problems bringing food home, while 30% of whites have these difficulties.
A year ago Laura Segura lost her job at the Denver airport. Now she is forced to ask for the help of food stamps for her two children.
“For example, in the past I did not ask for help, thinking that it was a public charge or that what they were offering me at some point would go out of balance. Many times, you are afraid that one day you will be charged. That is why, many times, you do not ask for help. But, as I told you, it is a right that my children have as American citizens and it is a help that the Government gives us without a future monetary imbalance, ”said Segura.
Segura receives a monthly help of US $ 375 to go to the supermarket. You get it on a debit card that is loaded each month that you can use to buy your groceries.
“For me, it is very satisfying to be able to go and buy what I really need, not what they often give us at food banks,” Segura added.
For this year, spending on food stamps is expected to continue to rise, as the president of the United States, Joe Biden, signed a decree that increases the amount of money that families obtain each month. It also expanded benefits to 12 million Americans who did not receive the aid.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism