After Jaime Grimes found out in January that her monthly food stamps would be cut again, this time by $40, the single mother of four broke down into sobs — then she took action.
The former high school teacher made a plan to stretch her family’s meager food stores even further. She used oatmeal and ground beans as filler in meatloaf and tacos. She watered down juice and low-fat milk to make it last longer. And she limited herself to one meal a day so her kids — ages 3, 4, 13, and 16 — would have enough to eat.
“I just want my kids to be fed,” said Grimes, 38, of Lincoln, Neb., who suffers from chronic back problems, arthritis and muscle pain that make it difficult for her to stand. She is applying for disability but in the meantime has $950 a month — $500 in child support and $450 in food stamps — to feed and house her family. “I just want my kids to have the basics of life that, unfortunately, I can’t give them right now,” she added.
Grimes and her children are among the estimated 49 million Americans who have limited — or uncertain — access to enough food to meet their daily needs. The numbers of people living in such hardship initially spiked during the Great Recession to around 15 percent of Americans, and has hovered there, failing to return to pre-recession figures of 11- to 12-percent though the economic slump ended nearly five years ago in June 2009, according to a new report by Feeding America, a national hunger relief charity.
“Nothing is getting better,” said Craig Gundersen, lead researcher of the report, “Map the Meal Gap 2014,” and an expert in food insecurity and food aid programs.
“Let’s stop talking about the end of the Great Recession until we can make sure that we get food insecurity rates down to a more reasonable level,” he added. “We’re still in the throes of the Great Recession, from my perspective.” (Continue to original article)