In rural Pennsylvania, poverty creates barriers to healthy food access and federal assistance
Posted On: March 16, 2018
Others in the community rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, often called food stamps. According to the U.S. Census, nearly 16,000 Fayette County families are eligible for SNAP.
A number of people at the food pantry said they rely heavily on sales and coupons to stretch their dollars. That includes Robert Vansickle, 66, who receives about $88 per month in federal food assistance.
“Hey, I’m better off than most,” he said. “You learn to deal with what you have, and be grateful you got it. Too many people over-expect.”
A proud demeanor is common in the region, according to Keeley Forrestel, a grant writer for the Fayette County Community Action Agency. But she said the need is real in Fayette County, where 16 percent of residents and 27 percent of children are food insecure. That means that, at times, they lack access to enough food for a healthy life. Forrestel said around here, there’s a real “pick yourself up by the bootstraps” attitude.