Columns/Opinion, Letters to the Editor

SNAP benefits there to help, not to support

Dan Carnegie, Morgantown

From September 2008 to March 2011, I was a case worker for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), the program that now wants those on food stamps to work.
Many folks did not want to participate in the program, and those that showed up only about half continued in the program. Those that did not show up knew the phone numbers to complain to my boss in Charleston.
You know the complaints: I treated them bad; I looked down on them; I did not tell them about the program. I remember one couple told my boss what a bad person I was.

The 80 hours a month (required to receive SNAP benefits) did not have to be work, but could be volunteering at the hospital, the fire department, EMS, the library or getting your GED and the state would pay for it. And budget a $25 a month check for transportation for volunteering or school.
SPOKES (Strategic Planning in Occupational Knowledge for Employment and Success) was another program that worked and helped each person learn skills, earn a GED or prepare their resume, to name a few services.
Many did not want the responsibility of work and blamed their problems on everyone else. They spent more time on getting out of the program than they would have in the program.
We all need help sometimes, and food stamps are there to help, not support. Don’t judge Rep. David McKinley too harshly on his vote on food stamps. There are two sides to every story.