In serving the hungry, there often is a lot more than can be done improve their lives beyond handing out food. This story from the West Side Campaign Against Hunger (WSCAH), a Robin Hood funded program, is a great example of how many issues can be addressed once a person is connected to the right services.
Esmeralda Perez is a Single Stop caseworker who meets with visitors onsite at WSCAH. Here is her account of a recent meeting with Maribel:
Maribel is a 38-year-old single mother of two small sons. In August 2009, as a legal resident, she came to the United States from the Dominican Republic without her children. In May 2012 she was able to bring her boys to live here with her. She works as a child care provider but her income isn’t big enough to meet the food needs of her family. A friend told her about WSCAH’s food pantry and food stamp enrollment program. On her first visit, WSCAH screened her and found her eligible for food stamps. Maribel had never applied for benefits before because she had been misinformed that her children needed social security numbers first—which she thought she couldn’t apply for until their residency papers were complete. WSCAH let her know her that her children could apply for the benefit with passports stamped as permanent residents.
She came back to WSCAH in late July with all necessary documentation for her food stamp application. Not only that, she received the papers she needed to apply successfully for social security numbers for her children.
A week later Maribel received notice from the New York City Human Resources Administration that she will receive a monthly food stamp benefit of $367.
She was ecstatic about having this help feeding her children. WSCAH’s next step is applying for health insurance for her sons.
Thanks to WSCAH, Single Stop and Esmeralda, one less family goes hungry in New York City.