“He called the emergency line early in the week and mentioned several times that he had been eating granola bars and needed food. He was anxious. He had cognitive and neurological problems and was disabled because of them. We spoke for about 20 minutes, as he carefully wrote down what foods we could give him and where he could find us. He said his case manager would bring him by later in the day when he was out running errands. Sure enough, he was there a few hours later.”

Dianne Mann, Pantry Co-Coordinator at Loaves and Fishes, a Worcester County Food Bank (WCFB) Partner Agency in Worcester, recounts her experience with Steve,* one of 174 people – 86 adults, 46 seniors, and 42 children – who visited the pantry last month for food assistance.

“Steve is someone who receives $750 per month in Social Security Disability. He lives in a rooming house. His rent alone – for a bedroom and a shared kitchen – consumes $550 per month of that. He has $200 left over and receives $192 per month in SNAP benefits.”

Says Mann, it isn’t enough to sustain him.

He’s one of many pantry visitors Mann thinks about during these “tenuous times.” With SNAP funding cuts referenced in the latest presidential budget proposal, Mann struggles to envision the impact any less funding would have on Steve who, like roughly 73% of SNAP recipients – people with disabilities, seniors and children – are unable to work. She wonders what strain such a budget could have on food banks and pantries.

For now, she does what she can to help.

“Canned peas and peaches are his favorites, so I gave him those. Then he noticed a can opener sitting on a shelf. It turns out he had one saucepan and a frying pan at home, but no can opener. So I told him to take it.”

*Name changed         

Learn more about WCFB’s Partner Agencies here.    

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