Unfortunately, about 8 years ago I was in a position where I was going to be forced to go to our local food bank in order to feed my elderly parents. And, no, I’m not a freeloader. I had recently discovered my father’s broker had managed to liberate nearly a million in liquid funds for a better purpose. My mother had a serious heart condition, my father, Alzheimer’s. I spent my time caring for them. Their social security did not go far enough due to the high cost of his AD medication, which was nearly $395 a month. (And NOT covered by anything). I had not told my sister how serious the situation was. She had enough problems.
I had decided, if I were forced to degrade myself by asking for help, I would take care of them, then due to the humiliation of going to a food bank, take my own life. My mother called my sister.
Having to beg for food at a food bank is humiliating. I spent years helping with donations to our local one, and would send people to it. I came to realize food stamps were better. And, no, most people don’t abuse them. I’ve watched young mothers stand, in tears, because they did not have enough on their ‘card’ to cover the most basic of things, while their small children were tired and hungry. The average person who is receiving food assistance is employed. Ten percent of people who work for Walmart are on food stamps. Something like 10 percent of those working for Amazon are on food stamps.
I spent the 7 years living on approximately $10,000 a year. This led for no luxuries, none. Much of that time was caring for elderly parents. I learned that there are items which might no be allowed if you were doing a food distribution program which were easier to prepare. I’m sorry, but the WORKING poor have some human rights, and should not be humiliated.
32% of those on SNAP have at least one person in the household who are working. 54% of those visiting food banks had someone in a household who had a job. Up to 70% of those seeking assistance at food banks had someone in their household with a job, but had children. We’re not talking deadbeats.
A working mother who is pushed to the breaking point should not be required to go home, every night, and cook from scratch. I’ve learned how to stretch a dollar, and there is absolutely NO reality to forcing people to spend money on EXPENSIVE fresh fruit and vegetables. Frozen is far cheaper. Beans in a slow cooker and rice can go a very long way.
My adventure in abject poverty taught me a few things. Surprisingly, I am far less compassionate about liberal causes and liberal hand-outs to those who fit their special little niches. I managed to barely survive on $10K a year and not go into debt. It was pure hell. Aside from having help from a friend for PNM’s truly obscene electrical bills (he owed rent on property we owned) I simply did without. I did without insurance, health care, anything other than the most basic food, and utilities. I went without new clothes and cosmetics. Even more tragic was being unable afford my yearly Louis Vuitton handbag.
A healthy adult can survive. The elderly cannot. Neither can the working poor with young children. They have my compassion. When you see someone working full time, for little above minimum wage, trying to care for small children, that’s a different story. Don’t humiliate them with a handout of food. These people are doing their best to survive. Allow them some dignity. Food distribution is not dignity. Neither is SNAP, but it beats what someone thinks a person should have, not what they might need.
Nancy Pelosi is so arrogant, she thinks a thousand dollars is a crumb. The problem with my fellow conservatives is they are, at times, so arrogant, they think everyone on SNAP or food stamps is worthless. Granted, there are a heck of a lot of people out there who are not. But – if a person has a job, and is stuck by a situation in life, allow them some dignity.
I spent those years living in central New Mexico. There were NO jobs available. Jobs that were available were minimum wage. The difference where I am now living is stark. Work I could have done for minimum wage or up to $10/hour, is twice that. I’m only living a half day’s drive in Arizona. People who are forced into situational poverty don’t need to be punished or humiliated.
As for me, I survived – on nothing. And, don’t get me wrong. As far as I’m concerned, if an adult who has no special needs goes begging for food stamps and public assistance, let ’em go begging. There are jobs out there – if they are willing to do them. The problem is, when you reach a specific category of individual, they aren’t exactly willing.