TOPEKA (KSNT) — Thousands of unemployed and impoverished Kansans may soon be getting back on their feet, all thanks to a federal grant that will expand statewide career training services for SNAP or food stamp recipients.
One grateful Lawrence mother says those very services have completely changed her life.
“I believed that it wasn’t going to be me. That I was never going to be that person ‘on the rolls’ so to speak, and I found myself there,” said Sarah Bloxsom, a former SNAP recipient.
In 2008 Bloxsom found herself divorced, with four kids to feed and no job.
“Not being able to have a job to go to when you’re waking your children up to go to school, it was almost humiliating,” said Bloxsom.
After ten years in the marketing and real estate business the market collapsed, and her livelihood along with it.
Unemployed for over a year, she had to rely on SNAP benefits to get by. Luckily, she says, E &T, the employment and training program through Heartland works, helped her get back on her feet.
“Without E & T I really believe that I would be in that same stuck position,” said Bloxsom.
Now a $13.5 million grant from the Federal Government aims to help other Kansans, like Bloxsom, get back to work.
That money will fund training programs, just like the one through Heartland Works, in 35 additional Kansas counties.
“People want to work. They don’t want to receive government assistance. They want the jobs, they want to work, they need the training in order to work,” said Audrey Rowe, an administrator with the USDA.
Bloxsom says she’s glad to see the service expanded to so many others, because as she knows all too well, the need can happen for anyone at any time.
The federal grant Kansas is receiving will be good for three years. If the state shows success during that time it could qualify for additional funding in the future.