During the pandemic, an increasing number of families are turning to government support and food banks to feed their families.
“It was life or death. We were either going to starve or we were lucky enough to qualify for SNAP benefits,” Veronica Bedico, an unemployed mother of three, told CNN’s Vanessa Yurkevich.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is Bedico’s lifeline, she said. The number of Americans on food stamps, or SNAP, has grown by more than 20% during the pandemic, Yurkevich reported.
“I would like for the administration to remember that we’re real people. And that we’re not, you know, welfare queens that are just taking advantage of the system. I am a real person who had a real job. And now I need help so that I can provide for my children during this hard time,” Bedico said.
Stacy Dean, the deputy under secretary for food, nutrition and consumer services at the US Department of Agriculture, said that the government is reviewing the program due to increased demands.
“It is supposed to be enough, but many experts and more fundamentally, the families who use it are worried that it just isn’t enough. So we’re actually taking a look at that now to see if adjustments are needed to make it so that families can afford a basic diet with our benefits,” Dean said.
At the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, those on SNAP tell Yurkevich they need more food.
“I get like 200 bucks, and you know, I can make it stretch, but … once it’s gone, it’s gone,” SNAP recipient Kenya Edwards said.
“It was life or death. We were either going to starve or we were lucky enough to qualify for SNAP benefits,” says Veronica Bedico, a mom of three.— New Day (@NewDay) February 4, 2021
Millions of Americans are facing hunger for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic. @VanessaCNN reports. pic.twitter.com/1ScIWe6FJ2