Ben Driscoll, Nutrition Outreach and Education Program (NOEP) coordinator for Catholic Charities of Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties, shared the following story about young parents he helped to enroll for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

“David,” worked for a manufacturing company. His wife, “Rita,” worked for a large retail store. In anticipation of their baby’s arrival, David asked his employer if he could work overtime, but few extra hours were available. Rita stopped working once she gave birth, and day-to-day expenses soon became overwhelming.

The couple came to Driscoll to see if they might be eligible to receive SNAP.

“They were eligible, and that was a big relief,” he recalled.

SNAP is designed to be a safety net for people who face food insecurity. All who qualify are entitled to receive benefits through the federally funded nutrition assistance program.

“It’s there to help you manage your budget, ensuring that each member of the family is maintaining a sufficient diet,” explained Driscoll.

The couple uses SNAP to help stretch their monthly food budget, but are working toward a day when they will no longer need to rely on the program. According to Driscoll, they are very focused on managing their expenses, and Rita plans to return to work.

“They understand SNAP is an entitlement, but that they don’t have to, nor do they necessarily want to, be entitled for the rest of their lives,” he said. “They talked about creating a better quality of life for their child and future children too.”

The NOEP Program, managed by Hunger Solutions New York, is one of the largest SNAP outreach programs in the nation, serving nearly every county in New York State and all boroughs of New York City.