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Veloria is an Austin resident who can remember what the city used to be like. Talking to Jordan Coats, an AmeriCorps VISTA at Central Texas Food Bank, she says, “I used to do this—I used to volunteer when y’all used to be on South Congress going to Slaughter.”

Veloria can remember other things about Austin too —especially how much more affordable it used to be. “It’s so expensive. Like I tell everybody, I have at least $200 left [after paying my bills], but that don’t last! I’m telling you, back in the day, ‘cause I’m 56…my grandmother fed me and my brother, and that boy could eat!”

Veloria has epilepsy and other health conditions that make it impossible for her to work. “Well I’m disabled, I was working, and I’m disabled. I get everything—SNAP, Medicaid, Medicare, and disability.” Those benefits don’t always meet her needs, however. “I just get $36 of SNAP.”

“I mean they went $144 to $77 to $67 to $44, $45, then now $36.”

Veloria uses her SNAP benefits to buy oils and condiments because the amount she receives is not enough to afford food for the month. The rest of the food she buys out of her remaining income or receives from the food pantry. “I get [food assistance] and it helps subsidize what I can’t get. It really does. It helps a lot.”

Towards the end of their conversation, Jordan asks Veloria what she hopes for herself going forward. She says, “For the future? Maybe just get what I need for the future to thrive. And I know I will, I know I will.”