$200 alloted for school supplies - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 122 Old 08-13-2009, 10:55 PM
 
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Low income people are some of the best money managers I have met. The time they spend, and the indiginities they suffer, to get assistance would be overwhelming to people not used to the benefits system. Poor people are judged to be 'not deserving' all the time. In Chicago the old public housing buildings were designed without showers because the tenants didn't deserve them - what a message that sends to people about how they are valued.

I think the school supplies benefit could probably have been handled better but for many families it will mean the difference between giving children a little choice and pride in their clothes and school supplies, and having to take donations or do without. I wish I had the money that George Soros has to make this kind of difference in so many peoples lives.

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#62 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 12:28 AM
 
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It's amazing to me, with all the money used to bail out the big corporations and payout literally 100s of millions each to the very executives who put us in this mess... and people are going to argue over a low income person spending $200? Really?

$200? If you get to tell said low-income person that the $200 better not be spent on anything fun, well, I hope you tell the CEOs they better spend their 50 million dollar bonuses on lots of school supplies.
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#63 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 12:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by joyluc View Post
Low income people are some of the best money managers I have met. The time they spend, and the indiginities they suffer, to get assistance would be overwhelming to people not used to the benefits system. Poor people are judged to be 'not deserving' all the time. In Chicago the old public housing buildings were designed without showers because the tenants didn't deserve them - what a message that sends to people about how they are valued.
I wholeheartedly agree.
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#64 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 01:23 AM
 
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I really disagree with this on so many levels!
Once again those that aren't poor enough to be eligable for assistance get no help.

$200 per child? I spent less than that on all three of my kids and that included buying extras just to help stock the teachers cupboards. I could buy all three boys new (clearance and new to them) clothes for a year or two with that kind of extra money.

The money (IMO) would have been better used (or at least half of it) going into bulk buying school supplies and giving it directly to the schools.
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#65 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 01:30 AM
 
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I think it's terrific! Back to school should be fun and it's nice that the poorest kids get to have the same fun buying new stuff that mine do. :

Healthcare is a human right!
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#66 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 10:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Altair View Post
It's amazing to me, with all the money used to bail out the big corporations and payout literally 100s of millions each to the very executives who put us in this mess... and people are going to argue over a low income person spending $200? Really?

$200? If you get to tell said low-income person that the $200 better not be spent on anything fun, well, I hope you tell the CEOs they better spend their 50 million dollar bonuses on lots of school supplies.
I can see your point, but I think you can be concerned about macro issues, like the bailout, and micro issues, like the $200. I don't see that they cancel each other out. The school supply $$ is different in that it's in part funded by a private donor, the rest by taxpayers, if I'm not mistaken. I think the issues are the same with both however-accountability, oversight, expectations, etc. If the funds were all private this wouldn't matter, but I think tax dollars change the expectations, and rightly so. The idea of corporate execs mismanaging funds and using them for personal gain rubs me the wrong way, the same way I believe I would feel if parents used the $200 for trips to McDonalds or to buy alcohol ( not my examples-these have been discussed up-thread).
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#67 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 11:07 AM
 
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The money (IMO) would have been better used (or at least half of it) going into bulk buying school supplies and giving it directly to the schools.
Now THAT's a great idea. Or similarly, in buying supplies in bulk, having volunteers repackage into one-student units, and then making available to all foster kids, or all kids who qualify for a free school lunch. Easy-peasy and fair.

George Soros can do whatever he wants with his money, but for taxpayers (at least NY taxpayers) to have to foot 4/5 of the bill to give out extra money to TANF families, without the usual legislative/regulatory study before TANF amounts are increased, is foolish.

ETA: Oh, and I've been on aid - WIC and food stamps - before. I didn't disagree with what I was being given for free, or complain that instead of free food I should be given cash to pay my electric bill. It was a handout, not something I earned, and therefore it was completely appropriate that the givers have strings attached.

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#68 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 11:26 AM
 
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I'm NOT in NY, so this doesn't apply to me but...
Lets say I've already bought school supplies and school clothes for children so that immediately before school I am not burdened with the large cost. This money has come from my wages in the previous months... Maybe my rent is a little short, electric is late, or my phone is off....
Then I received $400 (for my two children).... What should I do with this money since I've already spent 'my money' on ALL the school supplies they need???
Logicially I would pay my other bills.
If this were a voucher program or had limitations on what the money could be spend on, then I wouldn't be able to participate.
Theoreticially I could stock up for next year... buy clothes that will fit my kids next year, but if the goal of this program is to help needy families RIGHT NOW then by placing limitations right now, I would not be helped....

that being said.... I WISH they were doing this in FL....

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#69 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 11:45 AM
 
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ETA: Oh, and I've been on aid - WIC and food stamps - before. I didn't disagree with what I was being given for free, or complain that instead of free food I should be given cash to pay my electric bill. It was a handout, not something I earned, and therefore it was completely appropriate that the givers have strings attached
.

Why is this such a difficult concept for some? Good for you

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#70 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 11:59 AM
 
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While I do support this program I understand why some people are so unhappy. I am a NY state taxpayer in an area with pretty high taxes. We are not on assistance and we have been struggling like so many people in our area. I would love to have an extra $200 per kid I have been stressing about back to school and I understand the negativity some people are feeling. The local news asked people how they felt about the program and 85% did not agree with it. I was surprised at that number.
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#71 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 12:06 PM
 
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tomorrow i'm making my biweekly trip to the food bank. usually when i'm there they give me something dessert-y. last time it was two boxes or oreo cakesters. garbage, i know, but tasty garbage. but since i'm living on hand-outs (80-90% of my income is not from my employment) should i decline the cookies? after all, i'm poor and so probably can't manage my money and don't deserve cookies. maybe if i ask nicely they'll exchange my 'treat' for more half-rotten produce.

i feel really condescended to in this thread.
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#72 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by KayleeZoo View Post
.

Why is this such a difficult concept for some? Good for you
I don't think it's a "difficult concept"... it's just one that I don't agree with. Are you finding the opposing POV difficult to understand?

I believe that the job of the state is to care for its citizens. I don't consider social benefit programs to be handouts, but the state fulfilling its obligations to the people.

 
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#73 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 12:30 PM
 
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I don't think it's a "difficult concept"... it's just one that I don't agree with. Are you finding the opposing POV difficult to understand?

I believe that the job of the state is to care for its citizens. I don't consider social benefit programs to be handouts, but the state fulfilling its obligations to the people.
I understand and agree with fulfilling obligations, but does that mean no oversight or accountability? What constitutes an "obligation"? $200/per child to be spent in any fashion is fulfilling an obligation? I don't see that. Again, if it is a gift from a private donor, fine. But taxes come from people's earnings, so I don't think that the no strings attached is the best way.

I don't get the resistance to accountability when the funds are coming primarily via the state? Maybe if this program is done again it could be with a level of accountability, and those who didn't wish to participate could simply opt out if they felt offended. The same with big corporations. If you don't want to be held responsible for how you spend our money, don't take it.

I just can't imagine feeling this way, and I've been reading this thread hoping for another perspective. But honestly, what comes across is the idea that because we want to do something we should be able to. Perhaps that's not the best phrasing, but it's what I am hearing. I'm just uncomfortable with that on a personal responsibility level, but that's me.
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#74 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 12:51 PM
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When you say "our money", though, who do you mean? The money isn't yours any more than it's mine, and we don't let people earmark the money they pay in taxes for any particular purpose. The money is the state's money, no matter where it came from.

I think Americans in general are big on people having to work for their money, and we want people who don't do this (or don't do it enough, or in the right ways) to have to suffer a bit, to sort of punish them for not being better contributors. That whole Puritan work ethic thing that our country was founded on: "If bad things are happening in your life, you must have done something wrong or not worked hard enough."

Other countries have more more liberal social benefit systems, and they don't expect people using them to feel guilty or shamed.

And no one who received the $200 payments is going to be using them to put a down payment on a nice house in the 'burbs... they're still poor and will still have plenty on unmet needs even with the $200. If we were using state monies to pay people $100 million dollars in bonuses I could see complaining... but using state monies to make poor people slightly less poor? Not a problem for me.

 
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#75 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 01:09 PM
 
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I hear your points, Dar, and I appreciate them. I do not have an issue with folks who need help getting help-it could be any one of us at any point. My issue is with the accountability, in general. I feel this way about tax money. Call me crazy, but I do think of it as my money. We worked for it, and it is taken from us. I'm not anti-tax, and I believe in a social contract that provides for caring for those in need. Regardless of whether or not I have a say in where tax money goes doesn't lessen the fact that it was earned by me, or DH, or my parents or my friends or neighbors. The allotment or disbursment doesn't change where it came from.

I can accept that this is a minority opinion.
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#76 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 01:09 PM
 
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All political views on social programs aside, I think my biggest qualm is what hillymum brought up:

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Originally Posted by hillymum View Post
Once again those that aren't poor enough to be eligible for assistance get no help.
If 1 of the points of the program is to "level the playing field" for the "poor kids", then there is a large number of children that are still lacking.

What about the families who make just above the threshold but are barely scraping by? School supplies, school clothes, etc can break the bank for them. Where's their aid?

I just think the program could have been managed a whole lot better.

And I'm not talking about dictating *how* the $$ gets spent. $200 PER CHILD is A LOT of $$ and I just think it could have been distributed better to include those families NOT on assistance but still barely scraping by.

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#77 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 01:24 PM
 
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tomorrow i'm making my biweekly trip to the food bank. usually when i'm there they give me something dessert-y. last time it was two boxes or oreo cakesters. garbage, i know, but tasty garbage. but since i'm living on hand-outs (80-90% of my income is not from my employment) should i decline the cookies? after all, i'm poor and so probably can't manage my money and don't deserve cookies. maybe if i ask nicely they'll exchange my 'treat' for more half-rotten produce.

i feel really condescended to in this thread.

I know how you feel. It seems like whenever there is a thread about poverty, or government aid or any related subject, it devolves into a poor-people-bashing thread.
We are all lazy, drug-addicted, alcoholics with loose morals and no sense in our heads.
I am a poor mama. I am on TANF, foodstamps and Medicaid. I am VERY grateful for these things, otherwise, me and my family would probably be living in our car and starving. But we poor people are people, just like you priveliged folks. I buy cookies with my foodstamps, and I don't give a #$%^&& what others think about that. We are doing the best we can, and trying to claw our way out of the poverty cycle. I really wish that the people who are judging us poor folks would walk a mile in our shoes. Do you know how it feels to have your electric shut off on the same day you bring a new baby home from the birth center? I do. Have you run out of heating fuel in the dead of winter? I have. Have you felt the terrible guilt and shame that comes when your kid wears holes in her only pair of sneakers, and you have to wait two weeks for your welfare money to replace them? I have.
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#78 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 01:24 PM
 
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We worked for it, and it is taken from us. I'm not anti-tax, and I believe in a social contract that provides for caring for those in need. Regardless of whether or not I have a say in where tax money goes doesn't lessen the fact that it was earned by me, or DH, or my parents or my friends or neighbors. The allotment or disbursment doesn't change where it came from.

I can accept that this is a minority opinion.
I don't think, with regards to this program what you have in a minority opinion. In fact, judging by the reaction that many people have witnessed in the state of New York in particular it's the majority.

I do think a lot of people get upset when there is a lack of accountability, but there are major issues all over gov't with that. Look at the mortgages crisis...there were people in our city who made $35,000 a year who managed to get $350,000 mortgages.... And, that happened all over the place! I mean, who allowed all these interest only, reverse amortization mortgages??? When there is little regulation and guidelines then there are always going to be some people who are going to manipulate and use the system.

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#79 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 01:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dar
I think Americans in general are big on people having to work for their money, and we want people who don't do this (or don't do it enough, or in the right ways) to have to suffer a bit, to sort of punish them for not being better contributors. That whole Puritan work ethic thing that our country was founded on: "If bad things are happening in your life, you must have done something wrong or not worked hard enough."
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I hear your points, Dar, and I appreciate them. I do not have an issue with folks who need help getting help-it could be any one of us at any point. My issue is with the accountability, in general. I feel this way about tax money. Call me crazy, but I do think of it as my money. We worked for it, and it is taken from us. I'm not anti-tax, and I believe in a social contract that provides for caring for those in need. Regardless of whether or not I have a say in where tax money goes doesn't lessen the fact that it was earned by me, or DH, or my parents or my friends or neighbors. The allotment or disbursment doesn't change where it came from.

I can accept that this is a minority opinion.
I completely agree with you, karne, and I think the dangerous sense of entitlement is widespread - far beyond those on public assistance. It's what led to the credit crisis, mortgage crisis, bankruptcy increases, and very directly to the current recession IMHO.

It's not about "punishing the poor." It's about requiring recipients of public assistance - money that comes from the rest of us - to adhere to responsible spending requirements. So, no, you can't use your food stamp allotment for cigarettes or alcohol. You can only use WIC coupons for designated grocery items - usually not organic. If you are allowed to discharge - give up - all yor debts in bankruptcy, then the trustee may require you to "buy back" your previously-paid-off car. These requirements have nothing to do with HOW you got poor; they aren't punitive. They are simply the strings attached to a public gift, in much the same way that if I create a trust or foundation I can stipulate how the money is spent - scholarships only for solo-parented kids maybe, ha ha. If you want the gift, you have to accept the restrictions, because the giver's right is to create those restrictions. It's not saying anything about a particular recipient's money management style. It's saying that public funds - as opposed to private funds that we each earn ourselves and if we are Soros can spend generously, or not - must be managed very carefully to prevent further problems. It's almost a fiduciary responsibility of the public giver - like others upthread have said, the state SHOULD HAVE put strings on the public money allotted, instead of just giving it freely. The state SHOULD be doing what it can to assist the kids and their educational needs - over and above whatever management the recipents might do with the money.

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#80 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 01:30 PM
 
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If 1 of the points of the program is to "level the playing field" for the "poor kids", then there is a large number of children that are still lacking.

What about the families who make just above the threshold but are barely scraping by? School supplies, school clothes, etc can break the bank for them. Where's their aid?

I just think the program could have been managed a whole lot better.

And I'm not talking about dictating *how* the $$ gets spent. $200 PER CHILD is A LOT of $$ and I just think it could have been distributed better to include those families NOT on assistance but still barely scraping by.
There are so many people, now more than ever in the post war era, that are struggling. It's just lousy.

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#81 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 01:31 PM
 
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But we poor people are people, just like you priveliged folks.... I really wish that the people who are judging us poor folks would walk a mile in our shoes.
As I said above (post #67) on the previous page, I have been on public assistance, and quite recently. So yes, I have walked many miles in your shoes, even though I don't think that's required to have a valid opinion here.

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#82 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 01:34 PM
 
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So, no, you can't use your food stamp allotment for cigarettes or alcohol.
Umm, you CAN'T use FS for cigs or alcohol. And I have no problem with that. I DO have a problem with being judged just because I'm poor.
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#83 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 01:38 PM
 
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As I said above on this page, I have been on public assistance, and quite recently. So yes, I have walked many miles in your shoes, even though I don't think that's required to have a valid opinion here.

No, I agree. Your opinion is valid, as is mine. I'm simply having a problem with people making assumptions about ALL poor people.
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#84 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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Umm, you CAN'T use FS for cigs or alcohol. And I have no problem with that.
Exactly. There are appropriate strings attached to gifts of public funds. We agree that there SHOULD BE and often are such strings.

If recipents choose to interpret these strings - the focus that the money be used for certain purposes, like kids' nutrition vs. adult health hazards, foci that have more public benefit, e.g. less public-paid medical costs long-term - as "judgment" on the recipients' money management skills or the reason they are impoverished, so be it. But people can always infer a judgmental motive from strings, I suppose. I have a check in my wallet that says I have to cash it w/i 60 days - I suppose that could mean the drafter mistrusts my ability to find my bank anytime soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by appalachia
I'm simply having a problem with people making assumptions about ALL poor people.
What assumptions? I'm asking genuinely. I didn't see any in this thread about ALL poor people. Heck, I'm still poor - albeit not on public aid anymore - and I certainly didn't see any slams against me.

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#85 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 01:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by josybear View Post
tomorrow i'm making my biweekly trip to the food bank. usually when i'm there they give me something dessert-y. last time it was two boxes or oreo cakesters. garbage, i know, but tasty garbage. but since i'm living on hand-outs (80-90% of my income is not from my employment) should i decline the cookies? after all, i'm poor and so probably can't manage my money and don't deserve cookies. maybe if i ask nicely they'll exchange my 'treat' for more half-rotten produce.

i feel really condescended to in this thread.
Yes, this was my point earlier.

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#86 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 01:47 PM
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To me, the word "gift" is an odd choice here. Do you see roads and police officers and schools and the EIC as gifts? I don't think anyone would say that these things are gifts and thus people should just accept what they get... and I think this is true for all of the benefits we receive from the state. The state serves the citizens, or should, IMO...

 
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#87 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 01:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by appalachia View Post
I know how you feel. It seems like whenever there is a thread about poverty, or government aid or any related subject, it devolves into a poor-people-bashing thread.
We are all lazy, drug-addicted, alcoholics with loose morals and no sense in our heads.
I am a poor mama. I am on TANF, foodstamps and Medicaid. I am VERY grateful for these things, otherwise, me and my family would probably be living in our car and starving. But we poor people are people, just like you priveliged folks. I buy cookies with my foodstamps, and I don't give a #$%^&& what others think about that. We are doing the best we can, and trying to claw our way out of the poverty cycle. I really wish that the people who are judging us poor folks would walk a mile in our shoes. Do you know how it feels to have your electric shut off on the same day you bring a new baby home from the birth center? I do. Have you run out of heating fuel in the dead of winter? I have. Have you felt the terrible guilt and shame that comes when your kid wears holes in her only pair of sneakers, and you have to wait two weeks for your welfare money to replace them? I have.
I'm so sorry for what you are going through mamas! I wish more people "got it" Hang in there

Student and aspiring midwife mama to Angel: and Iris. Expecting a new sometime near Halloween! I am a all the way!!!!!
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#88 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 02:01 PM
 
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What assumptions? I'm asking genuinely. I didn't see any in this thread about ALL poor people. Heck, I'm still poor - albeit not on public aid anymore - and I certainly didn't see any slams against me.
I was in a similar position, and I don't see people making giant generalizations about poor people.

However, I do think people agree that for this particular plan of giving out money for school supplies it may have been a good idea to have some rather simple guidelines/procedures in place.

I'm here thinking about the children, and knowing that sadly it is often seen (and this is in ALL income levels) that a lot of people always put their own needs above their kids. This aspect--unfortunately--is human nature and doesn't apply to only certain socio-economic groups.

Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice guy...living in tropical paradise...pink cats and homebirths rock!

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#89 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 02:08 PM
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I believe in treating all people with dignity and respect, including children and those on public assistance. Guess I am the freaky hippie who believes that allowing personal freedom leads to making the best decisions for their family situation. :
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#90 of 122 Old 08-14-2009, 02:13 PM
 
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I believe in treating all people with dignity and respect, including children and those on public assistance. Guess I am the freaky hippie who believes that allowing personal freedom leads to making the best decisions for their family situation. :
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