A few years ago, a woman fainted in class at York County Community College. What had happened? She had to make a choice between paying her bills and feeding herself. This is a dilemma that many people in Maine have to face.

When then-Gov. Paul LePage cut the budget for food stamps, people who previously qualified for food stamps were left with limited access to food. This is affecting our Maine family members, from our children to our elders. Food insecurity has been shown to increase the risk of depression, diabetes and many other chronic conditions.

Food insecurity is not always evident. Society has put a stigma on asking for help and most people feel too embarrassed to get help. Asking for help should not be embarrassing and should not make anyone feel like less of a person. Food is a basic human need, however, so we need to shift our thinking. We need to start thinking of food as a basic human right as well as a need.

Maine’s government has failed us in the past. Thirty-seven percent of people who are food insecure in Maine do not qualify for food stamps, according to the Good Shepherd Food Bank. These are the people who we have failed.

I urge you to contact the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee at (207) 287-1317 or email them at [email protected]. Let this be a wake-up call for our government.

Katelyn Seavey

Sanford