‘At that point, my world just crumbled’: Local woman reaches out to SNAP for help

It’s freezing cold outside. Having heat in our homes is not just a luxury, it’s a necessity.

Sadly, there are thousands of people struggling to pay their energy bills this time of year just in Spokane alone.

“Nobody knows what’s going on when I go inside and shut the door,” said Meg, who lives in Spokane.

On the outside, Meg’s life seems just fine. In reality, every day is a struggle.

“I’m so cold at night that I sleep with shoes on because socks don’t do it,” she said.

Meg, who didn’t want to use her last name, has lived in Spokane for the past 20 years. She said everything was going great until her fiance died by suicide.

“I was able to hold it together until my health started going down,” said Meg.

She’s had seven back surgeries and has been on disability for almost a year. It wasn’t until last week that things went from bad to worse.

She was let go from her job.

“At that point my world just crumbled,” Meg said.

Meanwhile, the bills kept piling up.

“I suddenly opened my electric bill and it was huge,” she said.

That’s when she called Avista who told her about SNAP, but getting in touch with them wasn’t an easy task.

“Every time I had called and pressed the numbers I was supposed to press, I would get a recording that said, ‘Due to higher than normal call volume this mailbox is closed’,” said Meg.

After she received a notice that her power would shut off in the next few days, she reached out to 4 News Now for help.

SNAP was able to pay her bill in full, but what she learned over the phone helped her realize she wasn’t alone.

If you’ve ever had trouble paying your energy bill, you’re not alone. Since their opening day on October 12, SNAP has received more than 50,000 calls from people needing assistance. They say this year has been their highest volume on record. #4NewsNow pic.twitter.com/0dmSWfaQid

— Katerina Chryssafis (@kchryssafis) December 17, 2019

“They explained that at the beginning of the month, they had over 50,000 applicants trying to call and get through,” said Meg.

Although it hasn’t been easy, she hopes her story can inspire others to reach out for help.

“I live in a house. I live in a great neighborhood and I’m just a normal person. This can happen to anybody,” she said.

For help with assistance or to see what services you qualify for, you can visit the SNAP website. You can also call them at (509) 456-SNAP.