Circumstances can change quickly. One moment you’re doing great, then you find yourself struggling a few years later. I know, I’ve been there.
I left a comfortable full-time job in May 2004, going from part to full-time in real estate. My income took an immediate drop from a nice steady salary. I started grad school but also began getting urban planning consulting projects and one client had me on a monthly retainer. I’d weathered the worst of it, or so I thought. I had a stroke and the recession hit.
I struggled for two+ years before filing a disability claim. In the meantime I applied for help with the Missouri Food Stamp program. Thankfully my disability claim was approved within 30 days and I received my first direct deposit months later. I received food stamps for less than 9 months. It wasn’t much, but boy did it help me when I needed it.
Due to the very healthy income I had while working for others, my disability income is above the national average. Still, it is just 20% of what I was bringing in a decade ago. I’ve reduced my expenses and added a boyfriend, so I’m back to feeling comfortable.
Here are the unscientific results from last week’s poll:
Have you, a family member, or friends, experienced at least a month of “Food Insecurity” in the last 5 years?
No 39 [78%]
Yes 10 [20%]
Unsure  2%
Twenty percent is about what I expected, but I can’t draw any conclusions from these results.
“There are still too many people in Missouri who have to decide, ‘Do I pay the rent or buy food?”’ said Scott Baker, the director of the Missouri Food Bank Association. “The hunger problem is real and significant. The safety net is strained already, and I don’t know how the state’s food pantries would be able to meet additional demand.”
Missouri had about 915,000 people receiving food stamps in August. That’s down from a peak of nearly 962,000 in December 2011 but still well above the 724,000 recipients in August 2008. The federal government pays the full cost of the benefits while states administer the program. (KMOV)
You may not see it, but many face food insecurity. In some cases it may be there own fault, but others may have bad timing of circumstances beyond their control. If they had savings to last at least 8 months they may have burned through it by now.
– Steve Patterson