When a single Dad Fell on Hard Times, SNAP Was There to Pick Him Up
Tim Hayes became a single dad after his wife’s life crumbled under the weight of addiction and mental illness. Tim’s daughter is eight and his son is only four. They’ve been through some hard times the past couple years and Tim realized raising them on his own would mean a better future for them.
“They’ve been very resilient,” shares Time, “The difficulties we've gone through have actually opened the door for us to communicate better with each other and our relationship has grown.”
Being a single parent also means having a single income. He works two part-time jobs as a mail carrier and a cabinet maker. Two jobs give him the flexibility he needs given the demands of life as a single dad.
It wasn’t until enrolling his son in pre-school, that Tim learned about SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) and how it could help him buy healthy food for his kids. The stigma associated with the program, made Tim hesitate at first, but he knew it was a decision he needed to make for his kids.
“At first it was tough, just feeling prideful about taking help, but every little bit helps right now. Working two jobs, having two kids, really just making ends meet barely, SNAP has been taking some of the pressure off when I go grocery shopping.”
SNAP has helped Tim afford more fruits and vegetables. He used to be a personal trainer, and he constantly reinforces the value of healthy eating with his kids.
“I've always been passionate about fitness and nutrition, and that's one thing I want to pass on to my children. When the bank account is getting low, I just try to keep healthy options in the house. Kale is my favorite. It's such a superfood and it's so easy to just use as lettuce or chop it up in smoothies with frozen berries.”
Beyond healthy eating, Tim also feels a sense of responsibility to make the most of his SNAP dollars. He knows how important they are in his life and those of others like him.
“I'm a single dad now who fell on hard times and I'm trying to get back on my feet. Every little bit is helpful to my children. And knowing that I am getting assistance, I do feel a sense of responsibility to use that money more carefully to buy those nutritious foods. I am very grateful for the assistance.”
By making a gift to Second Harvest Heartland, you are helping raise awareness of important programs like SNAP and can help provide meals for families like Tim's.
Tim’s story was collected in collaboration with No Kid Hungry.