I was at the supermarket checkout line when the cashier asked me if I wanted to make a donation for the needy. I would have liked to, but instead, I flashed my food stamps card and shook my head, saying: “I can’t. This time, I’m the needy.” The poor guy blushed and mumbled an apology. I suppose he must have felt bad for me. “It’s okay,” I said. “I’m glad to have the help.” That day, almost three years ago now, I realized that I didn’t look like the type of person the cashier would have expected to be on food stamps. On other trips to the grocery store I had begun to notice that I was not alone. Well-dressed women ahead of me at the checkout would try to swipe their EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card inconspicuously, but I immediately recognized it. I wanted so badly to tell them not to be embarrassed. We were among the additional 20 million Americans who have had to go on Food Stamps since the recession. And my girls were among the 17 million children in this country who could be labeled as “food insecure,” meaning they do not know when or where their next meal will come. RECESSION HITS HOME I was a middle class hard-working professional, until my marriage ended around the same time as the recession hit. The publications I wrote for closed down or ran out of funding. I suddenly became the unemployed single mami of two girls, ages 4 and 7.