She once judged people who were on SNAP. Now it’s helping keep her and her family healthy.

For Kristyn Fayewicz, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was an unexpected lifeline. 

Three years ago, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a serious disease that causes her body’s immune system to attack itself.

After she was diagnosed, work became difficult and then untenable. Fayewicz, who worked at a dog training facility, found that the physical nature of the job made the symptoms worse. At one point, she even lost sight in one eye.

It took Fayewicz a year after her diagnosis to apply for SNAP benefits. She knew that she and her family needed help, but she was ashamed of taking this step. And she worried about the way people would look at her in the store.

Kristyn Fayewicz. All photos via Upworthy.

“I was too stubborn and proud. I had the same misconceptions that many have about getting assistance,” she says.

Like many, she believed that SNAP participants were somehow abusing the system put in place to help struggling Americans. But that’s a misconception. Nearly half of all SNAP participants, in fact, are children. And the average SNAP participant receives less than $5 per day in benefits.

Today SNAP helps Fayewicz live a better, healthier life. 

SNAP provides her with the ability to choose good, healthy food for herself, her boyfriend (who’s the family’s sole source of income now) and their nine-month-old baby, Murphy. Eating well has helped Fayewicz better manage her MS symptoms and set her daughter up for a strong start in life.

Murphy and Kristyn shopping at the grocery store.

“You are what you eat, and I want to be a strong example for my daughter,” Fayewicz says. Murphy has already discovered an affinity for fruits and vegetables, especially bananas and tomatoes. Thanks to SNAP, Fayewicz can buy these items every week.

“SNAP has changed my life,” Fayewicz says. “I can’t imagine where I’d be without it.”

Fayewicz’s EBT Card.

Everyone has a story. No one should be ashamed of asking for help.

Millions of Americans like Fayewicz struggle with putting meals on the table. But no one should be denied access to healthy food. SNAP is helping to change that one family at a time.

To learn more about this family’s story check out the video below:


This story was produced by Upworthy with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

Originally posted by Upworthy on October 31, 2018.

Pennsylvania Fast Facts

15%

In Pennsylvania, 15% of residents participate in SNAP.

More State Data

17.9%

In Pennsylvania, 17.9% of children are food insecure.

13.1%

In Pennsylvania, 13.1% of the overall population is food insecure.

SNAP stories

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program, helping feed more than 40 million Americans each month. Learn more about the critical support SNAP provides to families and individuals across the country.

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new research

SNAP benefits would decrease substantially under the House Farm Bill for some households receiving energy assistance. A new microsimulation conducted by Mathematica Policy Research finds that between 800,000 and 1.1 million households receiving SNAP benefits in 2017 would experience a $50 to $75 cut in their monthly benefit under certain provisions of the Bill. 

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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, is the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program, helping feed more than 40 million Americans each month.

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