When Dianne’s kidneys began to fail, a well-balanced diet low in sodium was one way she could manage some of her symptoms.
SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps, allowed her to afford some of those foods. She became eligible for the assistance about five years ago when she couldn’t work because of her medical issues.
“(SNAP) allowed me to afford the right things to eat,” she says. “Food is important to keeping me healthy. It’s very important.”
Dianne, 62, eventually received a kidney transplant. She still relies on SNAP to help her stay healthy. In her case, the SNAP benefits — $108 per month – are indeed life-saving.
“Without SNAP, I wouldn’t be able to eat,” she says. “It makes a big difference for me.”
Following her medical team’s advice, Dianne tries to eat a diet low in salt and high in fiber. She tries to include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. As it is, she spends an additional $20 to $50 a month to purchase the food items she needs to stay healthy.
Because she spends more than her SNAP benefits on food, she has less money for other expenses like her medications, housing, electricity and phone. With more SNAP benefits, she would be able to pay more on her other bills.
“Instead we make do with what we have and go without some things,” she says.
In March, Dianne moved in with her mother so they could be with each other while their community shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharing expenses also helps.
Recently, she and her mom waited in line to receive a box of produce at a Great Plains Food Bank distribution of the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program. The boxes of vegetables and fruits were handed out as part of emergency pandemic relief.
Dianne was glad to get some fresh food.
“If I had more money, I could buy more vegetables and the stuff I need,” she says. “This will help.”