Joanne shows off a long scar near her knee where she had vascular bypass surgery just a week before. She happily boasts, “God has blessed me in a lot of ways even though I have these health issues.”
Paget Disease, a rare type of skin cancer, forced Joanne to retire early after working for years at a large insurance company and later as a home health care provider. At 69 years old and single, she now receives just $83 a month in SNAP benefits, previously known as food stamps.
The food Joanne gets from St. Mary’s warehouse in Surprise allows her to use her SNAP benefits to purchase additional protein and non-fat items she needs for her health. It also allows her to cook for herself. As she says, “I’m an old Nebraska farm-girl cook, so cooking from scratch is important—and healthy!”
She’s also a surrogate “grandmother” to two neighborhood children ages 7 and 13, whose parents are struggling. During the week, Joanne makes them breakfast and sends them off with snacks for after school.