Gov. Janet Mills has proposed a rollback to the hardship exemption that allows our immigrants and asylum seekers the ability to receive SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) while looking for work.

Taking SNAP away from these people isn’t helpful. It would only make sense to keep them healthy. Then, when they do find a job, they’ll be in good shape to work. Hunger doesn’t just cause unnecessary suffering, it causes death.

I also receive SNAP benefits. With food prices out of control, SNAP benefits are already way too low. I’m disabled and have suffered from food insecurity most of my adult life. Even with a roommate I still pay more than 30% of my income for rent.

I receive $23 a month in SNAP benefits. It’s kind of a slap in the face, and at the same time it does help buy a few groceries each month. Because money is limited, my friends and I put our cash together to buy food for all of us to eat.

While the poor are required to jump through hoops to get the services we desperately need to survive, corporations continue to receive their welfare with no accountability or transparency. While much-needed social programs get less funding, poverty continues to rapidly grow.

Gov. Mills’ proposal is going to hurt people in Maine. Helping folks eat while seeking employment is the least we can do to support them.

I hope Gov. Mills and legislators pass a budget that will help Mainers like us thrive, not struggle.

Gina Morin, Auburn

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