It’s safe to say that in my recent years as a student at Boston University — specifically as a sociology major — I’ve learned the meaning of privilege. I go to a private university, live in a great apartment with two roommates, and I buy my food at the local Trader Joe’s.
And while I know that last one is, of course, one major aspect of a privileged lifestyle, I did not realize that alternative meal plans, aside from the dining hall or other supermarkets, existed for university students. More specifically, I did not know that students were using food stamps or Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Programs (SNAP), which help low-income individuals buy food.
After reading someone’s personal struggle on the matter, I couldn’t help but wonder about the large proportion of people using food stamps, ranging from the homeless to students graduating from prominent American universities.
In other words, I realized that food stamps are not simply limited to those whom we very mistakenly perceive as “poor,” or “lazy,” but rather average individuals with everyday issues, like simply buying food.
As Andy Fitzgerald aptly confessed in The Guardian, “I have long been an advocate for a strong safety net, but I never thought I would be ‘one of those people’ on it. Too often, we talk about people in poverty in the abstract, rather than as Americans with ordinary problems.
With this in mind, I’m quite nervous about the recent vote of House Republicans cutting $40 billion in food stamps, a move that would take at least 4 million people off the much-needed program, while reinforcing the misguided notion that everyday individuals are not going hungry.
Therefore, we at the True Food Movement hope to shed light on this issue and spread awareness on the importance of food assistance. If you have any comments or questions on the matter, we would love to hear your thoughts!