By TR Edwards, Esq.
Advocacy Director, Hunger Task Force
We don’t ask for help. We don’t tell anyone when we fight. Too often we refuse to share our pain, struggle, or grief until we just can’t hold it back.
That, it seems, is what it means to be black in America. Too often we are afraid of being perceived as weak, incapable or incapable. And to our credit, we make a walk just as often. But at the moment this way may not be available. Now it’s time to do things a little differently.
As food and other prices rise at a rate not seen in our country since the 1970s, “finding a way” becomes increasingly difficult. Hunger is a big issue in Milwaukee. According to the US Census Bureau, the city of Milwaukee had a 2021 poverty rate of 24.6%, ranking among the top 50 US cities with people living below the poverty line.
Accordingly, about 1 in 10 seniors is food insecure or starving. These seniors do not have access to sufficient or adequate quality food to meet their basic needs. Similarly, every fourth child unfortunately suffers from hunger and insecurity. It’s not just our elders and our babies who are struggling; we all feel it.
There is help. One program that can help us subsidize our grocery budget and reduce food insecurity in our community is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or FoodShare as we call it, in Wisconsin. With the pandemic public health emergency still in effect, eligible individuals could receive up to an additional $250 per month to purchase groceries. That’s a significant increase from the $20 a month seniors were getting before the pandemic. A family of four could add an additional $835 per month to their budget. With FoodShare, you’re eligible for additional support, including discounts on cell phone service, internet access, and you could even get help buying a computer or tablet. Your children are also categorically entitled to free breakfast and lunch at school.
The pandemic era is buoyant for FoodShare and other programs have helped many in our community bridge the gap between providing appropriate healthy meals and skipping meals to sustain their household budgets. With FoodShare set to scale back in the new year, now is the time to get the support you’re entitled to and make sure you and your family don’t have to keep fighting to ‘find a way’.