Kristyna Feyh is expecting her first child in August.
She’s excited about welcoming the baby and nervous about raising him as a single mother. One worry she doesn’t have is how she will feed the baby and herself.
“Between food stamps and WIC, I don’t have to worry about providing proper nutrition for me and my baby,” she says. WIC is a nutritional program for women, infants and children.
Since COVID-19, Kristyna receives about $180 in SNAP benefits each month. The assistance helps her pay for most of her groceries. She also visits local food pantries for aid.
Neither SNAP nor food pantries support her need for alternative dairy products. Kristyna is lactose intolerant and allergic to soy. Under WIC she can purchase three half-gallons of lactose-free milk each month. Kristyna can’t afford to purchase additional lactose-free products. To make sure she receives enough calcium, she takes Lactaid so she can enjoy the less expensive (dairy) milk and yogurt.
“With a little more assistance, I could buy the foods that better fit my diet,” she says. “Milk is my only source of calcium.”
As it is, Kristyna makes hard decisions when shopping for groceries. She’d like to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, but those are more expensive than purchasing premade or processed items.
“Lunchables are $1 and can be a quick snack to tide me over,” she says. “I’d like to buy 80 percent of my groceries from the produce section. But I can’t afford that.”
If she could afford it, she would make more meals from scratch. Those would be healthier, she says. And yet she’s grateful for the food assistance she does receive.
“If I didn’t have SNAP benefits now, I’d struggle to feed myself,” she says. “I’d be 100 percent relying on my family, my mom, to buy me groceries. And then they’d be struggling.”