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Should we get food stamps? - Page 9

post #161 of 181

When contemplating the policy behind food stamps, it is important to keep in mind that more than 1/2 of those who receive food stamps are children or, elderly or disabled persons who are not expected to work.  Further, economic conditions have a major impact on how long people stay on food stamps.  Studies during a period of economic growth showed that 2/3 of recipients exited within one year.  During a recessionary period, it was more like 1/2 exited within one year.  Some of these number be old, but probably still roughly representative.  Food stamps are a system that works, although imperfectly.  People who are elgible to receive them should take them and use any freed up moneys to build up their families infrastructure (education, tools that will save money down the road, emergency savings, etc.) if they feel funny about taking the assistance.  That will make them far less likely to need it in the future and eventually they will be in a position to help others in similar situations by donating food and money, paying increased income taxes, etc.  It will cost the nation less to feed hungry people than to treat diseases caused by malnutrition later, or to support a workforce that has skills of ever decreasing value.  In times of economic recession, food stamp money is a fast way to move federal money into local communities because the money is spent immediately on food rather than hoarded in a bank account or sent to a far off bank to reduce debt (as a stimulus check might well be). 

 

This thread has really made me think a great deal.  Thanks all!  And to the OP, take the stamps and use them to make your families life better/easier as they are intended to do.  And then pay it back later, or even start paying it forward right away.

 

post #162 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

 

It really doesn't. And just so we're clear, I'm all for anybody who qualifies signing up and always have been. But yes, if you are using an EBT card there will absolutely be somebody judging you for something-or-other every time you're at the grocery store. Every damn time. My mom drove 15 miles to another town when she used FS to decrease the chance of running into anybody she knew in the checkout line. 



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

 

Bear in mind, I was 17 years old when that lady came through my line with the lobster. I've done a little growing since then (and I didn't openly diss her even at the time, because I couldn't afford to lose my job). But cashiers will always be poor folk, they will often struggle with food insecurity themselves, and it will piss them off every time to see a bakery cake or other luxurious item being paid for with food stamps. That's how the system works - it pits poor people against each other. 

 

ITA agree that lack of cooking skill is the biggest cause of poor nutrition in every socioeconomic bracket. My mom's a good cook, and I was a well-nourished child always. The Farm Bill is another major cause, but cooking skill can overcome even that. 



I've used an EBT card in the past. I've never felt any stigma when using it. I will admit, I don't wave it around any more than I would a regular credit/debit card so most people wouldn't even know I was using it. The only store you actually have to mention that you are using one is Whole Foods. And I'm quite friendly with the cashiers at my supermarket and I've never seen anyone looking sideways at what I'm buying. Which was a lot of diet soda which is a somewhat-adequate substitute for the ADHD meds I couldn't afford to buy. And a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables which are often way more expensive than the junk food others were buying.

post #163 of 181

Before you apply for foodstamps-

 

 

- Before you apply, you must first sell your house and move into a smaller place, cancel your internet, sell your computers, sell your new clothes you bought when you had a job, and down grade everything. Because you will need the car you sold, you better buy a cheap second hand one that will cost you in repairs and sucky gas mileage, but don't you dare show up to the groccery store in your reasonably priced vehicle you bought during better times. Once all the money you earned by selling everything you owns runs out, then and only then, may you apply for assistance. You will need it, especially since you don't have a car to get to a job in. If you had a cell phone with a three year contract, you must shell out the money to break contract because it makes me angry to see you with a cell phone while you use government assistance. If you have brand name clothing you should sell that for 20% of what you bought it for and use that money to buy new clothing. 

- If any well meaning friends or family give you a gift you must sell it immediately on ebay. 

- You must never pay more to purchase an item that is higher quality and will last longer. You must pay every few months to replace cheap items that wear out. 

-You must not get pregnant, or be previously pregnant, or have a young infant. Foodstamps may totally offset the cost of that infant, but that is
cheating the system. Do not get pregnant so you can have food stamps. 

- You must not ever have a night out. The best way to find a job is to meditate by candlelight. You canceled your electricity already, right? 

- You must not ever celebrate your children or partners birthday. Only children whose parents are not colossal screw ups are allowed cake. If you absolutely MUST have a cake for an important celebration, for example your child is dying and will not make it to their next birthday, you may purchase the raw ingredients to bake your own cake, but you may not buy a premade one. That is a frivolous use of my tax dollars. 

- You may not buy junk food. My hard earned money is not going toward you drinking Mountain Dew and eating Fritos for every meal. This is why poor people are so fat. 

- You may not buy organic food. I can't even afford to eat organic, and you want to eat fancy organic vegetables? No way. 

- You may not buy fresh produce. That is a waste of money, especially if it goes bad before you use it. If you must buy fresh produce, follow these guidelines. 
- No expensive fruits such as raspberries or cherries. This is frivolous. Bags of local apples will do.
- Stick to cheap root vegetables like potatoes or turnips. Considering making cabbage soup. 
- If it sounds exotic, it is right out. Skip over those pomegranates, dragon fruits, or persimones. 

- You may not buy canned produce. It is high in sodium and too expensive. You should be cooking everything from scratch. 

- You may not purchase frozen vegetables. They loose their nutrients and don't give you enough bang for your buck. I don't want to fund your malnutrition. 

- You may purchase meat, but only if it is cheap and tough.

- You may not purchase hot dogs and balogne, that garbage will make you fat AND poor. 

- You may not purchase steak, that is only for hard working tax payers. 

- You may not purchase ground turkey. It may be healthy but it is too pricey. 

- You may not purchase any pre made foods, food from a box, frozen dinners, or deli food to go. Since you are a filthy lay about who does not have a job, don't have children, and are not looking for work or working two jobs to try and make ends meet, I know you have lots of time to be up at 4am to make bread from scratch, dehydrate your cereal, and make stew from beef ends. 

- You should live on ramen and mac and cheese and 99 cent bags of pasta.

- You should make healthy wholesome meals from scratch every day to balance your diet. 

- Don't smile or laugh when you shop. You do not deserve to feel happy when you are sucking up my money. 

- Don't look sad or broken when you shop. It mat stir pitty or unease in me, and that makes me feel uncomfortable for enforcing these rules. 

- Practice an appropriate look of shame and gratefulness in the mirror every day, so you can achieve an eyes down slumped shoulder look whilst purchasing food. I know you sold your mirror, so use the mirror in the burger king bathroom. Don't purchase a burger. 

- Understand that because of your lowered place in society, myself and others will speak about you with disdain. If you have ever accepted government assistance of any type for any period of time, you may not comment on this. You may not use the terms classisim, racism, or minority whilst engaging myself and others who pay for your mistakes. Even if you were on assistance for 1 month during college 20 years ago, you can't have an objective opinion about this. 

- Public libraries, public school, public roads, community centers, community parades and events, fire and police services, and other government funded programs are different. They just are. When I am talking about government programs I am talking about the ones you use, not the ones I use.

Follow all these rules and you can avoid being too much of a shameful loser. 
Don't follow of all these rules and you will be relentlessly belittled, shamed, guilt triped, talked about, and reviled for years!
 
 
OP- if you qualify and need the help, apply.  
 
What is with the mentality of some of the comments here?  Low income don't deserve anything nice?  Cable TV is bad?  Considering all the channels you can have access to on even the cheapest basic plan, it's still less than going to the movies.  And it is something to enjoy daily vs one movie night a month.  Internet is used not only to post at MDC, but also for learning, entertainment, job hunting, etc.  Pets can be fed well and cheaply.  
 
I've not been very active here lately because of the rampant judgment.  This thread is a prime example of why I rarely come here anymore.
 
ETA: I removed a couple cuss words
post #164 of 181

Dragonflyblue - clap.gifbow.gif

post #165 of 181

Dragonfly, I read all of your post.  I'm confused by a lot of it tbh.  I could go thru it point for point to explain,  but I don't have time right now...

 

I feel that this blade of sarcasm can also drive people away from accepting people who need FS, if that makes sense.  I can come back later to explain my comment if needed.  There are many people who need and deserve food (of course!) and there are far too many "wrongs" within the system, definitely... but a lot of what you posted doesn't ring very true in my city (huge metro city in western coastal North America).  

 

Although, I also understand that you may have posted this to be sort of tongue-in-cheek humor on a pretty dark and sad topic.

 

Maybe I simply misunderstood your entire post altogether!  I'll check in tomorrow.

post #166 of 181

Dragonfly, I literally laughed out loud at your post.  

post #167 of 181

Dragonfly, you summed it all up perfectly!  I wish that had been posted on like page 2 of this thread.  I hope everyone reads that. 

post #168 of 181

I think she was referring to some of the attitudes and opinions expressed on this thread, not what people in your city are doing.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by number572 View Post

Dragonfly, I read all of your post.  I'm confused by a lot of it tbh.  I could go thru it point for point to explain,  but I don't have time right now...

 

I feel that this blade of sarcasm can also drive people away from accepting people who need FS, if that makes sense.  I can come back later to explain my comment if needed.  There are many people who need and deserve food (of course!) and there are far too many "wrongs" within the system, definitely... but a lot of what you posted doesn't ring very true in my city (huge metro city in western coastal North America).  

 

Although, I also understand that you may have posted this to be sort of tongue-in-cheek humor on a pretty dark and sad topic.

 

Maybe I simply misunderstood your entire post altogether!  I'll check in tomorrow.

post #169 of 181

Dragonfly, I just may have to print that out and copy it and hand it out to all of my low-income friends.  That is priceless!  Thank-you from the bottom of my public assistance funded heart.  love.gif

post #170 of 181
Loved your post, Dragonfly!!
post #171 of 181

DH went to college for rehabilitation/ mental health services and I went for public health, so we are both very familiar with 'the system' and to be honest, even with DH working a 'good' job now, we still don't make enough to cover our bills and the cost of our educations that got us into working for the non profit sector... but that's enough post entirely...

 

Anyway, at one point when DS was like 6 months old, DH was between jobs and I wasn't working, so we qualified for FS. It didn't really bug me to use them, but there was one time that I went to the grocery store in the middle of the day and commented to the cashier (as he was scanning my organic produce etc...) about how empty the store was and how I picked the right time to do my shopping- to which he replied "Yeah, well wait till the end of the month when FS benefits roll over again, then this place will be absolutely crawling again..." My face turned bright red as I scanned my FS card. As if he honestly thought this comment was 'safe' to make to me, after all I was fortunate enough to be nicely dressed in clean clothing, and educated enough to be buying healthy food- I couldn't possibly be paying with FS. I wrote a letter to the store manager about it. 

post #172 of 181

greengranolamama..

 

Have you applied for the Income Based Repayment plan? You can apply through your school loan lender(s). Also, you can combine this program with another which allows you to stop paying on your school loan after ten years of working non profit.

 

http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/IBRPlan.jsp

post #173 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekgolightly View Post

greengranolamama..

 

Have you applied for the Income Based Repayment plan? You can apply through your school loan lender(s). Also, you can combine this program with another which allows you to stop paying on your school loan after ten years of working non profit.

 

http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/IBRPlan.jsp


Yes, we do IBR and it has saved our lives. We have talked to our loan people about the 10 year thing but they don't know what we are talking about. DH works in a public service non-profit so technically, we should be getting that, but can't figure out how.
post #174 of 181


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by matey View Post

Just a side note on the class idea. I know it sounds great to offer classes on nutrition, but that is something they already do with WIC. They offer classes on nutrition, healthy eating and breastfeeding. My WIC center even offers online classes where we can learn about the benefits of drinking lots of water and ways to cook vegetarian. For me, it is all no brainer stuff and is completely worthless. For other moms who may choose to eat less healthy diets, I think it is just something they put up with to get their checks. I really don't think additional classes will change everything and make the participants eat healthier.


Oh, I totally understand the problems with the idea of a nutrition class. I'm not thinking so much "nutrition," though as a program that would teach people how to shop better. In my fantasy, a program well-staffed with people who could actually go through the process of planning, shopping, storing with people would be an awesome way to help people to help themselves. As I said up-thread, the purpose of public assistance to me is to benefit society as a whole because we all benefit when people are well-fed, well-clothed, well-sheltered. Spending the money on helping people, rather than giving pat nutrition advice, to shop & cook to their tastes could be beneficial.

 

I see families of people who receive assistance for everything from housing to food to winter coats for their kids. Why? What's going on in those families that they cannot afford the basics? A winter coat at our consignment shop is $5. Shoes are around the same. If you cannot budget for $5 for a winter coat, then obviously you actually need help working on how you're spending your money, how to find more affordable housing, recovering from an addiction, help getting a job (and there ARE jobs in my area, help wanted signs are actually fairly plentiful here), whatever is causing the problem. The better benefit then is to help you navigate those things, rather than for us to pay for them indefinitely.

 

My family is working poor. I do get what it's like to grow up without a lot of things. I understand what it's like not to have the money for needed items. I just think there are better decisions that most people could make to help their situations. WRT the comments about proper cooking items, slow cookers can be purchased new for $10. Casserole dishes are easily in that same range. Over time, people can build up what they need. Heck I can think of plenty of things that don't require cooking that are super-healthy and fast. Even working minimum wage (which I completely agree isn't a living wage), people can begin to build up a typical supply of kitchen items. It just takes time and perseverance. 


Problem is getting folks to realize they need the help, as I said earlier in the thread I run a community center, and grapple with these very issues. In 2 years I have tried offering hands on practical budgeting and planning classes to the same families that at Christmas need help with gifts. Guess what? They never show up to the classes. Right now I am literally sitting on a $5000 grant I got to work with teens on finances because I figured maybe if we work with the kids it will work better than the adults...same issues. I cannot spend the money to give this information away.

 

The reason I started my programs was for the very reasons you mentioned, yet its like I need a new plan to get folks convinced they need the help.

post #175 of 181


 

 

10-YEAR PUBLIC SERVICE LOAN FORGIVENESS If you work in public service and have reduced loan payments through IBR, your remaining balance after ten years in a public service job could be cancelled if you made loan payments for each month of those ten years. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is available only if you have Direct Loans and you make 120 monthly payments under the Direct Loan Program. If you have FFEL loans, you may be eligible to consolidate them into the Direct Loan Program to take advantage of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. However, only the payments made while in the Direct Loan Program will count toward the required 120 monthly payments. For more information about this program, review the Departments Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program Fact Sheet.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by matey View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by geekgolightly View Post

greengranolamama..

 

Have you applied for the Income Based Repayment plan? You can apply through your school loan lender(s). Also, you can combine this program with another which allows you to stop paying on your school loan after ten years of working non profit.

 

http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/IBRPlan.jsp




Yes, we do IBR and it has saved our lives. We have talked to our loan people about the 10 year thing but they don't know what we are talking about. DH works in a public service non-profit so technically, we should be getting that, but can't figure out how.
post #176 of 181

Um, Dragonfly, you rule! Great list! Did you write it yourself (and if so, can I borrow it)?

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by shayinme View Post

 

Problem is getting folks to realize they need the help, as I said earlier in the thread I run a community center, and grapple with these very issues. In 2 years I have tried offering hands on practical budgeting and planning classes to the same families that at Christmas need help with gifts. Guess what? They never show up to the classes. Right now I am literally sitting on a $5000 grant I got to work with teens on finances because I figured maybe if we work with the kids it will work better than the adults...same issues. I cannot spend the money to give this information away.

 

The reason I started my programs was for the very reasons you mentioned, yet its like I need a new plan to get folks convinced they need the help.

 

In response to that, I say: “The best teachers of poor and working people are the people themselves. They are the experts on their own experiences and problems” (Horton 1990: 152).

 

I'm sure you put your heart into your work. I'm not sure on how severe your position of marginalization is (you're already marginalized based on your identity as a woman, as most of us here are). I can't make a judgement on your status of poverty or privilege, so the following is a general statement, targeted to a general "you", and not meant to be taken personally:

 

I've often heard it said that poor people often "don't want help", because they don't take advice on budgeting and lifestyles from more privileged people. Thinking in terms of educating someone to budget their very little money in a way that makes sense to you isn't really fair, in my opinion, and I do believe that it contributes to a classism. I think that it is a misinterpretation of the needs of the poor. What they need certainly isn't budgeting help. Given what they're living on, I feel strongly that they should feel comfortable looking to their community for help, regardless of whether they've made a spreadsheet or not about how little is too little to spend on clothes/food/etc. What poor people need is a community that is ready and willing to stop blaming them for their poverty and to start understanding that it's an abusive system that needs to be fought against. Yes, if they pinched pennies differently they might be able to squeak by more quietly and without making a ruckus or being a "burden", but I always find it interesting that the focus of more privileged people is on changing the behavior of the poor, who are already socially exhausted from being manipulated and marginalized. The root of a poor person's problems is almost always a hundred times deeper than their ability to budget.

 

Folks do need help, you're totally right about that, but I want to gently suggest that perhaps the it's not the kind of help that can be offered though budget classes. Though I'm sure budgeting classes can sometimes help willing participants to adapt better to being marginalized and exploited, it doesn't keep them from being marginalized or exploited. In fact, it may make them more quiet about it or ashamed to speak up, because if they're apt to go to the class, they're apt to blame themselves and "bad money management" (as if the wealthy don't have the luxury of that) for being poor and overlook the root of the problem. I'm okay with the classes, I just hope that they're viewed as a supplement to *action* for very willing participants who aren't told that their problems will be solved with budgeting. They won't. They may still be unable to buy christmas gifts if they budget all set. A "good" budget does not make a low-income family middle-income, and it does not put less financial burden on their plate. I think that when we fall into a position of being "teacher" to a people who have less than us, we run the risk of mentally wagging our finger at them, or trick ourselves into thinking we know what's best or what's appropriate for their lives.

 

And that tendency is why low attendance is normal for these kinds of programs.

 

I'm not an expert on anyone's experiences but my own, so I seek out situations in which marginalized people are already fighting *hard* against the system (it's going overlooked or under-covered by the media somewhere in your area, I'm sure), and help them do their dirty work. Something I do is to offer childcare at grassroots tenant's rights rallies and meetings.  You could also offer to do paperwork or make calls for them or whatever you can do that will allow them to focus on *their* fight.  Instead of making an attempt to be an authority "teacher" figure and educate them on your experiences, you could help facilitate an environment that makes it just a little easier for them to act on their own. That, I believe, is the best expenditure of privilege.

 

ETA: I could edit and re-edit this post until the day of my death. I will stop.

 

Peace!

post #177 of 181
geekgolightly - thumb.gif I actually went to the website today and printed off all the information so we can call the lender next week and figure this out.

We would have died a quick financial death had we not gotten on IBR. I actually learned about it here on MDC and when I told DH about it I started crying. I said "This could be a way for us to make it!" It was like a made for tv movie.

 

 

 

post #178 of 181

Habitat, a sweet friend of mine wrote it and gave permission for others to use it.  :)

post #179 of 181


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by habitat View Post

Um, Dragonfly, you rule! Great list! Did you write it yourself (and if so, can I borrow it)?

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by shayinme View Post

 

Problem is getting folks to realize they need the help, as I said earlier in the thread I run a community center, and grapple with these very issues. In 2 years I have tried offering hands on practical budgeting and planning classes to the same families that at Christmas need help with gifts. Guess what? They never show up to the classes. Right now I am literally sitting on a $5000 grant I got to work with teens on finances because I figured maybe if we work with the kids it will work better than the adults...same issues. I cannot spend the money to give this information away.

 

The reason I started my programs was for the very reasons you mentioned, yet its like I need a new plan to get folks convinced they need the help.

 

In response to that, I say: “The best teachers of poor and working people are the people themselves. They are the experts on their own experiences and problems” (Horton 1990: 152).

 

I'm sure you put your heart into your work. I'm not sure on how severe your position of marginalization is (you're already marginalized based on your identity as a woman, as most of us here are). I can't make a judgement on your status of poverty or privilege, so the following is a general statement, targeted to a general "you", and not meant to be taken personally:

 

I've often heard it said that poor people often "don't want help", because they don't take advice on budgeting and lifestyles from more privileged people. Thinking in terms of educating someone to budget their very little money in a way that makes sense to you isn't really fair, in my opinion, and I do believe that it contributes to a classism. I think that it is a misinterpretation of the needs of the poor. What they need certainly isn't budgeting help. Given what they're living on, I feel strongly that they should feel comfortable looking to their community for help, regardless of whether they've made a spreadsheet or not about how little is too little to spend on clothes/food/etc. What poor people need is a community that is ready and willing to stop blaming them for their poverty and to start understanding that it's an abusive system that needs to be fought against. Yes, if they pinched pennies differently they might be able to squeak by more quietly and without making a ruckus or being a "burden", but I always find it interesting that the focus of more privileged people is on changing the behavior of the poor, who are already socially exhausted from being manipulated and marginalized. The root of a poor person's problems is almost always a hundred times deeper than their ability to budget.

 

Folks do need help, you're totally right about that, but I want to gently suggest that perhaps the it's not the kind of help that can be offered though budget classes. Though I'm sure budgeting classes can sometimes help willing participants to adapt better to being marginalized and exploited, it doesn't keep them from being marginalized or exploited. In fact, it may make them more quiet about it or ashamed to speak up, because if they're apt to go to the class, they're apt to blame themselves and "bad money management" (as if the wealthy don't have the luxury of that) for being poor and overlook the root of the problem. I'm okay with the classes, I just hope that they're viewed as a supplement to *action* for very willing participants who aren't told that their problems will be solved with budgeting. They won't. They may still be unable to buy christmas gifts if they budget all set. A "good" budget does not make a low-income family middle-income, and it does not put less financial burden on their plate. I think that when we fall into a position of being "teacher" to a people who have less than us, we run the risk of mentally wagging our finger at them, or trick ourselves into thinking we know what's best or what's appropriate for their lives.

 

And that tendency is why low attendance is normal for these kinds of programs.

 

I'm not an expert on anyone's experiences but my own, so I seek out situations in which marginalized people are already fighting *hard* against the system (it's going overlooked or under-covered by the media somewhere in your area, I'm sure), and help them do their dirty work. Something I do is to offer childcare at grassroots tenant's rights rallies and meetings.  You could also offer to do paperwork or make calls for them or whatever you can do that will allow them to focus on *their* fight.  Instead of making an attempt to be an authority "teacher" figure and educate them on your experiences, you could help facilitate an environment that makes it just a little easier for them to act on their own. That, I believe, is the best expenditure of privilege.

 

ETA: I could edit and re-edit this post until the day of my death. I will stop.

 

Peace!


 

Totally love what you said, I am a Black woman who was a high school dropout, pregnant at 18 and could go on heck I grew up working class. So pretty much my work is driven by my own experiences that said I but up against the fact that what folks need and what gets funded are two entirely different things. I am actually the Executive Director of the center and its a balancing act. Funders want measurable results yet the work my center does can not always get measured in ways that they like and its hard. I could go on but I am gonna stop now.

post #180 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post
Totally love what you said, I am a Black woman who was a high school dropout, pregnant at 18 and could go on heck I grew up working class. So pretty much my work is driven by my own experiences that said I but up against the fact that what folks need and what gets funded are two entirely different things. I am actually the Executive Director of the center and its a balancing act. Funders want measurable results yet the work my center does can not always get measured in ways that they like and its hard. I could go on but I am gonna stop now.


shayinme, thanks for clarifying for me. It sounds like you've been through it and that you work really hard to get great stuff done in your community. I can empathize with you about funding and how ridiculous the system is. 

 

Solidarity Forever.

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