My name is Mark Underwood and I’m a volunteer at CARES Community Health. It’s known as a peer advocate, and they greet people in the lobby as they come in and they help direct them to services and where they need to go in the building.
I’m on social security disability and I do not receive enough to purchase food. I receive enough to pay my rent, my utilities, and then that’s about it. So I receive CalFresh food stamp benefits, however that’s not keeping up with the pace of the increase in food costs. Every time I go to the grocery store things cost more, and the food stamp benefits don’t go as far as it used to.
I’m about anywhere from I would say ten to fifteen pounds underweight, so in order for me to maintain my weight, I’m not talking about gaining any weight just maintaining it, I have to eat three meals a day and have a snack late at night before I go to bed. And sometimes at the end of the month my food stamp benefits are either zero or else there’s one or two dollars left that I’ve got to make stretch over four or five days, and it’s pretty hard to do.
"Sometimes at the end of the month there’s $1 or $2 left that I’ve got to make stretch over four or five days, and it's pretty hard."
- Mark Underwood
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