Letters

Harder to Get Help

Jun 27, 2018

To the Editor:

Recently, my congressman, Rep. MacArthur, voted for legislation that will make it harder for New Jerseyans to access food assistance. Once again, he was the only New Jersey elected official – Democrat or Republican – to support it. Both Congressman Smith to the north and Congressman LoBiondo to the south, who are also Republicans, voted no.

The bill passed in the House, but there is still a chance the Senate could stop the passage of these cuts to the food stamps program. But the point is, my congressman doesn’t stand up for families facing hard times. He’d rather see them go hungry in order to pay for tax breaks for the rich and corporations.

In 2012, after years of marriage, I was in a difficult situation; divorce was the only option for me and my sons. Despite being college educated and having a long-term job prior to their birth, we struggled through the divorce. For three years I was on my own, covering all the expenses for our family until the court garnished child support. Thanks to local community groups, I managed to stave off foreclosure, but I needed help putting food on the table.

I worked, so I wasn’t qualified to get any money from social services. All I had were food stamps, and at first I got only $57 per month and then eventually nearly $200. I could have received additional aid if I had participated in a job-training program, but I would have had to quit my job to do that and had less money to support my family.

That’s what the proposed changes Rep. MacArthur supported will do – make it harder for working parents to get access to assistance and create job-training program requirements that take them away from their jobs or school. None of us believed we would ever need help, but anything can happen. That’s why it is important to make it easier, not harder, for families to put food on the table.

Lisa Cubeiro

Manahawkin

The writer is a member of the New Jersey Organizing Project.

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