I am the American Dream!
My name is Veronica, and I have such an immense gratitude for federal programs such as SNAP/Food Stamps and Medi-Cal.* I am ESPECIALLY grateful for the Federal Stimulus programs that finally got my family off welfare.
My spouse and I were teenage parents in 1990 and relied on welfare to bring up our daughter until 1993, when we were able to get good jobs and get off federal assistance.
We had our son in 1995 and thought we would never need welfare again. We were wrong. I cannot pinpoint an exact time when we crumbled, because we cracked slowly. My husband’s two closest cousins were murdered and he began abusing drugs to cope. I pretended it wasn’t happening and kept working harder.
The bottom fell out when my son was diagnosed with Diabetes (type 1) in 2001. My world imploded. I was on leave from work through the Family and Medical Leave Act because both of my parents had been diagnosed with diabetes earlier that year – and then my son. So I went back on welfare, because I could not go back to work.
Thank God I was given the opportunity to help myself and my family through the assistance of different federal programs. When I tried to go back to work full-time and my son needed more care at home, I was given child care assistance so I could support my family and help my son. I was offered counseling, job training, and in the fall of 2009, the opportunity to work at Second Harvest Food Bank as an administrative assistant through the Federal Stimulus program.
I knew I was a hard worker but needed an opportunity to show it. When the program ended I was offered employment permanently at the food bank. I was one of 2010’s Client Success Stories for Santa Clara County.
I am still married to my husband Ray. We have three beautiful children, Danielle, Raymond Jr., and Albert. There is NO WAY I could have kept my family together without the help of the programs such as SNAP/food stamps, Medi-Cal, and job training.
I will not say I will never need federal assistance again, but my husband and I know things happen for a reason. We found unknown strength, faith, and resilience in our downfall. We will do everything we can to stay self-sufficient, but cannot say enough about the blessed safety net.
*Medi-Cal is the name for the California Medicaid program.
- U.S. Census Bureau, “American FactFinder,” 2007 American Community Survey (accessed May 2011). Data came from the following tables: Statewide poverty percentages, GCT1701, Ratio of income to poverty level, C17002
- U.S. Census Bureau, “American FactFinder,” 2009 American Community Survey (accessed May 2011). Data came from the following tables: Statewide poverty percentages, GCT1701, Ratio of income to poverty level, C17002
- Half in Ten analysis of Table 1, 2007 State Expenditure Report, National Association of State Budget Officers.
- Half in Ten analysis of Table 1, 2009 State Expenditure Report, National Association of State Budget Officers.
- U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2007 through 2008.
- U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2009 through 2010.
- Center for American Progress analysis of CEPR Current Population Survey ORG data.
- Food Research and Action Center.