Now the director of Ending Hunger 2.0 for the Great Plains Food Bank, Melissa Sobolik received SNAP benefits during her time in college. Today she fights the stigma many have with receiving benefits. “We’ve made you less than a person if you need help. We need to change that. You’re not a failure if you need help; you’re setting yourself up for success,” she said.
Formerly homeless and a logger for 27 years in the Pacific Northwest, Dennis Peck suffers from a number of medical issues that makes finding work difficult to come by. SNAP benefits help to relieve that burden and for him to eat healthy.
Larry Hanson, 59, suffers from epilepsy and relies on SNAP benefits to stretch his disability payments further. “When you have nothing, SNAP benefits really do help,” he says.
Unable to pay her rent, Jodi Smith found herself homeless and with few places to turn. A 61-year-old grandmother, Smith spent time living in her vehicle and stretched her SNAP benefits as far as they would go.
Working part-time and living in a studio apartment that was once a hotel, 26-year-old Chelsey Lang does the best that she can to support her and her young son, Emryx.
Leslie Tibbetts lives in Grand Forks with her husband, Anton, and their two young children. When Anton lost his job this year, SNAP benefits has provided a supplement to still keep the family fed.
A U.S. Army veteran, Willard Carpenter and his wife, Linda, rely greatly on the SNAP benefits they receive. Willard lost his right arm during a factory accident more than 45 years ago, but has not slowed down his farming operation.
A single mother of six, Tammie Nadeau has found herself in a position with significant credit card debt without a sustainable food source. The help of SNAP allows her to supply healthy food for her family.
It was the first time 86-year-old Norma Voltz needed food assistance when she visited the Great Plains Food Bank Mobile Food Pantry when it stopped in Dodge. A close-knit family that includes her brothers, children, grand children and great grand children, they all experienced difficult times when Norma’s daughter suffered a serious accident. Assistance from the Mobile Food Pantry helped to provide food for two weeks at a much needed time.
Kasandra’s heart was heavy on her first visit to Ministry on the Margins in Bismarck, a partner agency of the Great Plains Food Bank, as she mourned the recent passing of the father of her seven-year-old daughter, Justice. Now maneuvering through life’s challenges as a single mother, she has relied on food assistance to help the young family get by. It’s difficult for her to imagine the situation they would be in without the help.