Every month Rexanne Block carefully plans where and when she can pick up food.
She knows where the regional food pantries are and how often she can visit. She researches where mobile and pop-up food pantries will be located.
“Every little bit helps,” she says. “I can’t afford to eat otherwise.”
Rexanne receives $22 in SNAP benefits each month. This is more than she usually gets; it’s an increase of $7 because of extra assistance related to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency.
Those few extra dollars make a difference. She lives on a fixed income that consists mostly of disability payments. She suffered a traumatic brain injury several years ago when someone beat her. Every day she learns to live with the long-term effects.
Rexanne lives by herself. When she can, she helps care for her aging father and stepmother and a brother with multiple sclerosis. She’s thankful she doesn’t have to worry about feeding kids. One of her nephews is a single parent with two young boys.
“Without SNAP benefits, it would be pretty rough for him,” she says. “I hope the program doesn’t go away.”
But Rexanne still craves the fresh fruits and vegetables she enjoyed growing up on a farm outside of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. She doesn’t have room for a garden where she lives. It’s why she appreciates the pop-up pantries and community gardens where produce is shared.
“I utilize everything I can get. I’ll freeze or can it,” she says.
Without SNAP benefits, Rexanne imagines she’d have to rely more on what she could get at local food pantries. She’d have fewer choices. She’s already careful to make sure everything she receives gets eaten.
When Rexanne’s friends receive food items they won’t use, they share with her. When she gets something she doesn’t use, she gives it to her friends.
“Nothing goes to waste,” she says.