The Food Bank of Santa Barbara County’s CEO Erik Talkin is breaking through the myths about Americans on food stamps.
“A lot of people who are on [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program], the vast majority, there is at least one person working full-time in the household,” he explained.
Talkin has been working in food banking for 11 years, before which he ran a kitchen in a homeless shelter. He says many perceive people on food stamps as being lazy and that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“The amount of people who are sitting around being looked after is absolutely tiny compared to the thousands and thousands of working families that are struggling to get by,” he said.
Talkin says that every year, he does something called the “food security challenge” for a month. The challenge entails trying to live on $6.46 a day, which is the amount a person would get on CalFresh, which is the California version of food stamps.
“I was stuck with a few apples and a few kitten cookies to get me through those last couple of days,” he said. “And really, this is a typical experience for people who are on SNAP, in that benefits typically run out in the third week of people receiving SNAP.”
Seven of the 10 states with the highest percentage of people on food stamps voted from Trump in 2016.