Contrary to popular belief, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a temporary resource used by families to purchase nutritious food. People typically enroll in SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program, when they are facing extenuating circumstances such as reduced work hours, job loss or financial difficulty.
SNAP is a transitional tool that helps families maintain a balanced diet even when facing economic difficulties. On average, recipients receive benefits for nine months (PDF) and the typical benefit is $287 (PDF). As long as households receive the correct SNAP allotment, they will not have to pay money back in the future.
Many SNAP beneficiaries, however, pay the assistance forward and give back by donating time or money, sharing information or directly working with those in need. A social worker at one of the food bank’s partner agencies in Prince William County, VA is exemplary of one who pays it forward. A few years ago, this particular social worker struggled to make ends meet and received SNAP benefits to get through the difficult times. Eventually, she got back on her feet and now works at her parish helping others in need.
This is just one example of how individuals can pay it forward by simply volunteering their time. If you are interested in volunteering with the SNAP team, whether it’s out in the community or in the office, email volunteer@CapitalAreaFoodBank.org or call at 202-526-5344.