Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Public Assistance and Appearances?

Let's shine some light on a sensitive subject:

A dear friend and blogger shared some thoughts recently.  She intended them to be used as a Guest Post, which we are happy to offer.  As you consider what is presented here, you might want to visit your own attitudes and opinions.

Thank you to Lorraine Wellman for her generous gift of words and wisdom.

"You Don't "Look" Like A Food Stamp User

     When I was growing up in the 60's I lived in a small town.  It was so small that most everyone knew everyone else.  It was also a town that had a high rate of fact, it
still does.  What sticks out in my mind though is the difference of the have's
and have nots during that time.  As a kid I didn't know that everyone has a hard
time financially, at one time or another.  Back then, I thought the needy looked
a certain way; it was a child's foolishness.   One doesn't have to be "poor" to
find themselves in need; as the economy has shown us in recent years with all of
the job downsizings, rising cost of living, and home foreclosures.

However, during my childhood, there seemed to be a big distinction between those
who were considered "poor" and those who were "working class poor".  I can still
remember hearing people of the working class poor talking about those who were
getting food stamps coupons.  The theme of many of those conversations was such
that they could always tell who was on food stamps because their shopping carts
"would be piled high".  The perception was that people on food stamps were
living good.  That perception was ignorance talking. 

       The food stamp program provides a certain amount of money to it's recipients for
purchasing food according to set guidelines; and, it certainly is not an
unlimited bounty by any means.  Many people believed that those on food stamps
had no desire to get off of the program and were taking advantage.  Like any
good thing in life, there were people who abused the program; that is why there
are rules and regulations to prevent that sort of thing.  While there have been
people who abused the program, there are many MORE people that the food stamp
program helped get a leg up and move on to independence.  No one should have to
go hungry in the United States, the bread basket of the world.  It is a good
thing to have programs in place that help to prevent unnecessary hunger. 

        For many people who receive food stamps or some kind of
assistance, they often struggle with an embarrassment of having to need
services.  No one wants to feel beholding to another person, or to the
government for their basic needs.   It is a hard thing to have needs and find
yourself in the position of not being able to meet those needs; either long-
term or short- term.  It CAN happen to ANYONE at any time.  In fact, I've heard
experts say that most Americans are simply two or three paychecks away from
financial disaster.  That tells us that all of these job lay offs and financial
difficulties have put many people into the position of having to access food
pantries, farmer's market coupons, WIC, SNAP or the food commodity programs. 
There should be no shame in providing for your family with food stamps, if it
should become necessary.  It would be more shameful to let your family go
without when SNAP is available to meet those needs.
       These days, as an adult, I know that things have changed in many ways.  For one thing, food
stamps coupons have gone by the wayside.  These days, the food stamp program is
now known as SNAP and food stamp coupons no longer exist...things have
progressed to the EBT card, or the electronic benefits transfer.  There is no
embarrassment in the grocery clerk's line as people used to experience when they
hauled out their food stamps coupon book.  Now they can use their electronic
card with the magnetic strip, just like a debit card or credit card and no one
will know the difference.  This has gone a long way towards helping people
access the SNAP program who otherwise would have been too embarrassed to
purchase their food through a government program.

          The statistics say that 9% of food stamp participants are considered elderly (over
age 60), 79% are households with children, and of those homes with children, 36%
were headed by a single parent...most of which were a female single parent; 14%
of the households had disabled recipients.   As you can see, this covers a wide
range of people who can and are being helped with their nutritional needs. 

          The face of a food stamp user could be anyone according to
those statistics; it could be your mother, your next-door neighbor, your friend,
your children, child's teacher or, it could be you .  You don't have to look a
particular way to benefit from the program...all that matters is that people in
need get the food that they need to survive; and, that it be able to provide the
nutritional value that they need to thrive."
Thank you, Lorraine, for a sensitive peek into a piece of the culture that is rapidly growing.
Here's hoping you will also look at Food Stamps Cooking Club
As always, we are jonesin' for you comments here and there and everywhere.  Please remember to look at Lorraine's blog, "Write Where You Are" because she looks at every issue with a loving eye and discerning heart.  She makes her readers think and feel; then she moves people to action.
The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  Should
those links be clicked and sales result, your humble blogger would be
fairly compensated.  Please do your due diligence when conducting
affairs online or offline.  Do business only with those you trust


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.