by Brenda Risch, PhD, LCSW
While growing up I remember my grandmother and mother working long hours to can and preserve the bounty of our garden and orchard. Learning to can, freeze, and dry the fruits of the land are essential skills that have served me well during hard times. The elders of this beautiful border community continue to transmit many of those skills every time they include younger folk in canning salsa, drying chiles, or making homemade jam.
What our elders do not know, however, they cannot teach.
What our elders do not know, however, they cannot teach. In this increasingly technological world many folks are unaware of how to effectively access information, how to access resources every day or in a crisis, and how to empower themselves when faced with complicated bureaucracy. So, I’m writing today about how to access an amazing resource that can help anyone determine all of the federal, most of the state, and many of the local resources they might qualify for.
It’s called BenefitsCheckUp® and can be accessed at www.benefitscheckup.org. This incredible tool can be used in the privacy of your own home. You simply enter your demographic information and the system will tell you which programs are available to you. There are 12 different types of resources you can search for, such as housing assistance, income assistance, tax relief, health care, transportation, etc. It also offers streamlined access to common programs such as SNAP (the supplemental nutrition assistance program).
Growing up in a farming community taught me that folks need to work together.
Growing up in a farming community taught me that folks need to work together. When one family is in need, their extended family, friends, and community gather to help them out. BenefitsCheckUp® is another added resource that folks can use to supplement (or, when needed, substitute for) those supportive networks. We owe it to ourselves and our community to use the resources available to us. Many of the folks facing economic hardship right now have spent their lives working hard and paying taxes to create the very resources listed in BenefitsCheckUp®.
When folks who qualify use these resources, they can ease the strain on family networks and get a much-needed boost toward long term solutions to the challenges they face. Additionally, here at the Borderland Rainbow Center, we also have other resources, like our weekly food pantry, our senior services coordinator, social networking, and our counseling services available to support LGBTQ+ seniors (or anyone in need). Explore and connect with our services today: www.borderlandrainbow.org/services.
Brenda Risch, PhD, LCSW is the founder and executive director of the Borderland Rainbow Center. Dr. Risch has over 30 years of experience working on issues of gender and sexuality in academic, community, and clinical settings.