"When a friend suggested food stamps, I was horrified. I thought they were still the kind you pulled out of a little book and handed over to the cashier while everyone stared," she said. But when she heard about a SNAP event nearby, she went. Rose was hungry, and not only for information.
There, AARP Foundation SNAP program specialist Maria Najlis helped her apply for SNAP. But when Rose got her EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card containing her SNAP benefits, she was still too nervous to use it. "I didn't want anyone to think I was taking food money away from someone who really needed it, especially a child," she says — a common misconception, especially among older people.
She asked the manager of her local Publix for help. He taught her how to swipe the card and he taught her something else, too: "He told me that lots of his customers relied on SNAP, and there was nothing for me to be ashamed of," Rose says.
Rose now knows that the taxes she paid all those years helped support programs like SNAP, and that far from being a drag on the economy, SNAP is a stimulus, returning $9.20 to the economy for every $5.00 spent."My advice to anyone older who needs help is 'Go for it!' I've lived so long and done the best I could," she says. "Now, SNAP keeps me healthier in my old age. I have no idea how I could live without it now."
Winning Back Opportunity
Rose's story is just one example of what happens when struggling 50 and over Americans are faced with circumstances beyond their control. Unfortunately, there are many more out there just like her. This is why AARP Foundation and AARP launched the Drive to End Hunger initiative — to help Rose and millions like her move from vulnerability to stability.
Also of interest: AARP Foundation fights hunger proactively. >>