When I first heard a friend of mine from college was on food stamps, I was shocked. We were both recent graduates of a top liberal arts college, and I could not fathom that someone from my school was in such a "desperate" situation. Not long after, I was on food stamps as well.
The past year since I left graduate school has pretty much been: job application, job application, job application, interview, rejection, another job application, temp work, job application, another temp job, more job applications. For nearly eight months, I was unable to secure opportunities that weren't sporadic or temporary, making it difficult to pay rent and buy food.
I remember the night I decided to apply for food stamps: I put my hand into my change jar – the one I used to casually toss coins into so I wouldn't have to carry them around in my pockets – and I felt the bottom of the jar. I was taking my final quarters, dimes and nickels to a fast food restaurant, hoping I had enough for a burger and fries.
With Congress now back in session, House Republicans – with Eric Cantor leading the charge – are pushing hard for more than $40bn in cuts to food stamps (officially dubbed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or "Snap"). If they get what they want, 4-6 million Americans could lose benefits.