Brevard County woman describes food insecurity during pandemic to Congress

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — A Brevard County woman brought her pandemic struggle with food insecurity to the entire country on Wednesday.

As a virtual witness for a special U.S. House subcommittee, “The Future of SNAP: Moving Past the Pandemic,” single mom Rachel Wilson shared her struggle from poverty to steady work as a hair stylist.

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But since the Melbourne Salon where she worked shut down in the pandemic, recovery is far from her reality.

“Here we are a year after the shutdown and I’m still working at 50 percent less clientele than I’m used to,” Wilson said.

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Before the hearing, Wilson said she turned to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida where she was grateful to get connected to SNAP benefits.

She joined several speakers who told members of Congress how critical that help has been.

“SNAP is an integral part of getting the economy back on track,” said Dr. Lauren Bauer, with the Brookings Institution.

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The panel is examining assistance paid out during the pandemic and whether policies need modifications, such as adjusting the benefit formula.

Suggestions for the panel included tapering benefits as eligibility ends instead of a complete shut off to better help families get back on their feet.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.