Shelby is a college graduate, a wife, and a mother of two young children.

Her husband works part-time while he goes to school full-time. Growing up, Shelby always had a semi-negative view of food assistance programs. She felt that they were only for poor people and that using a food assistance program is like asking for handouts. When her first child came, she and her husband made the difficult decision to apply to WIC after her sister recommended it to her. They later decided to try SNAP as well, and were overwhelmed by the difference it made in their budget as well as their diets. She recalls being near tears when they received their first SNAP benefits. Shelby explained,

“I don’t know how we would have survived some months without it.”

Shelby had taken some nutrition classes while in college, so she knew the importance of a healthy diet, but the family’s limited budget kept them from eating as well as they should. These food assistance programs have made it possible for Shelby and her family to buy more nutritious foods, such as fresh produce. They are also able to afford leaner, healthier cuts of meat. Her young children are able to get the nutrients they need in their crucial years of development.

Sometimes Shelby still feels embarrassed to admit that her family uses food assistance programs, but she tries to remember what her husband told her: “We aren’t going to be on these programs forever; we are just struggling as students right now. That’s the reason they have these programs, and we are going to give back when we are done with school.” Shelby and her family don’t plan to use SNAP and WIC forever, but are grateful for the help it provides them now as a young, struggling family.