Thursday, July 27, 2017

Am I Alone in my Thinking About This?

    Soapbox time again.  Before I start though, I want to out it out there that our family has been on public assistance in the past and had to relay on food stamps to help feed our growing boys when they were very young.  It was NOT something that I wanted to do and we got off them as soon as we could, even when we still qualified for them.  Our caseworker said we were the first people she had ever met that actually came in to request to get off them even when we still qualified for them.  We were finally at a point where we could afford to feed our family on our own by making deep cuts in other areas and we wanted those resources to go to another family that needed it.

   Last weekend my hubby and I stopped at Winco to pick up a few groceries.  My plan was to only use what cash I had on hand.  We bought what little we needed, being very careful about prices.  We did run across a deal on some hot cocoa mix that my hubby uses in his coffee each day so we bought 2 cans of that knowing that it would save us money in the long run and also knowing that meant that we would have to forgo buying something else that day.  As we were loading up our groceries onto the conveyor belt, there were two young women in front of us doing 2 separate orders.  They each had mostly high end "gourmet" type items along with IPA beer.  Checkout was taking awhile and they had to swipe 2 different cards.  That is when I noticed that they both had the EBT food stamp card along with their debit card.  They were using the food stamp card to buy the groceries and then their debit card to buy the expensive IPA 6 packs of beer.  Their food stamp cards were having some glitches with the computer, but they eventually went through.  I will admit that this disturbed me.

   This is not the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last that we have seen this happen.  We have seen people using this programs to buy steaks, lobster tails, and lots of junk food and then whipping out cash to buy expensive wine, beer and cigarettes.  We have seen people buying all kinds of junk food along with some healthier items, just to put the healthier items back when they have gone over the amount that was on their food stamp card.  They will keep the cases of soda, the huge bags of chips, the sugar laden name brand cereals at $4.00 or more a box and leave behind the fresh fruit and veggies, milk and cheese.  And then they too will whip out some money to buy that all important case of beer at $18 or more!  These particular people had young children.  Apparently beer and junk food are way more important to them than feeding their kids healthy foods.

   I know far too many people who struggle to feed their families on very little and I certainly do not begrudge anyone getting a treat now and then, but to see such blatant abuse of the system, and yes, I call it abuse, well that is just shameful.  If you can afford to be buying expensive alcohol and cigarettes with cash, then you can afford to be buying your own groceries. If these girls had been being careful with their budget and buying things that would have lasted them for awhile and were not gourmet items, then I don't think it would have bothered me, the checker and the people in line behind us so much either.  The amount that they spent on the gourmet items that would last them maybe a week is what I spend in an entire month!

   You know it breaks my heart to see young moms struggling to buy food to feed their families and having to put needed items back when they run short on funds while seeing other people like this who spend foolishly because it is not coming out of their personal budget.  I've also seen people, who like we were when we were on public assistance, being so careful to find the best deals and healthiest foods they could to feed their families and only have a small amount monthly to do that with while I see other people with $400-$600 worth of mostly junk food piled high in their carts and then paying with the EBT card. It is honestly maddening!  I remember it being a struggle just to come up with cash to buy toilet paper and feminine hygiene products.  There was no buying beer, wine or gourmet food.  It was a rare occasion and usually a birthday when we bought a single bag of chips, ice cream or a 2 liter bottle of soda and even then it meant that we would have to sacrifice something else to do that.  I see the same people  over and over again on the day that the EBT cards are funded at the store buying the same stuff over and over again, so it is not just an occasional junk food or gourmet food splurge.  Something needs to change.

   I really wish that there were more limits on what you could buy with the EBT card and I also wish they would allow you to buy needed things like toilet paper with it also.  Things like chips, soda, prepackaged cookies could all be done away with in my opinion.  If you want those and can afford to buy beer with cash, then you can afford to buy those things with your cash also.  I wish there were more education programs that went along with getting EBT cards.  I think mandatory classes on nutrition, basic cooking and budgeting would help many of these families.  In my volunteer work I have heard way too many people saying they don't know how to cook dried beans or rice, cook fresh vegetables, or even cook fresh chicken, fish or other meats.  Believe it or not we have people come in that are mad because we don't have frozen pizzas, chicken nuggets, more junk food items. etc.  They turn up their noses at the healthier food options we have like whole grain cereals, canned tuna, dried beans, rice, canned tomatoes and even some of the fresh produce when we get it.  What they don't seem to understand is that all the food is donated and we are a volunteer run program.  None of us gets paid to do this and we certainly don't get to go and shop for these items.  It actually costs money for us to do all this between gas to go up to the Second Harvest Food bank in Spokane and bring back the food, the rental space to have our free food distributions monthly and gas for our volunteers who come and help there and also do the home deliveries to the shut ins.  A lot of the people coming in are also on food stamps and have run out of money on them by the end of the month when we have our free free distribution.  It maddens me when I hear people saying that they don't get enough in food stamps and that the $600 is too little an amount to feed them and their family of 4 for the month (this family also gets other forms of public assistance and none of the adults are working outside the home even though they are healthy and more than able to).   Meanwhile I have a 75 year old man on a fixed income who is there getting food for him and his wife who has dementia who gets no help at all and had to make the painful choice between buying the medications that his wife needs (the ones that Medicaid and Medicare don't cover) or buying food.  I know what choice he made and that he will make sure that his wife has what she needs and will skip meals himself to make sure that she still gets 3 meals a day.  We try to make sure that he gets "extra" food because we know the situation and how hard he struggles with all that he is dealing with.  There is also the single mom, working 2 jobs trying to support herself and her children, with the generous heart who is always there to try and help others, who is struggling to get by, who does not qualify for food assistance because she makes "too much" just going over the cut off by a few dollars.  She knows if she just worked one job or didn't work at all that she would qualify for all kinds of help, but she wants to do better for her kids and set a good example for them.  These are the people that I feel so badly for.  These are the same people standing in line behind the woman complaining that $600 a month in food assistance is not enough. 😠

   Please tell me I am not alone in my thinking that our food assistance and for that matter, other forms of public assistance need to be revamped?  I really feel there needs to be more accountability in these programs.  It makes me angry to see people who are really hurting and being caregivers to their ageing or ill spouses or children and families that are working hard and struggling to make ends meet not get help while others are clearly working the system and abusing it and sitting back doing nothing productive when they could be out working and just collecting their benefits.  As one of those spouses who cannot hold a regular job and struggles at times just to function at all, I know all too well the pressure that is on my hubby to provide all the income we need to survive.  Even when we were on public assistance, that man was working as hard as he could at any job he could and taking side jobs as well just to keep a roof over our heads.  I would work when I could but I only made about $20 a day as a substitute teacher after figuring in daycare costs for 3 kids.  Once they were in school I could work more and did and we got off the food assistance program. Once we brought them home to homeschool, we were again down to one income but did not receive public assistance other than medical which the state would not allow me to drop since my husband did not get health insurance through his job.  Once he was able to get that, we paid for our insurance but the kids were still on the state's insurance because again, the state would not allow us to drop them from it.  That honestly turned out to be a God send because we would still be paying off the medial bills from our twins after the surgeries and physical therapy they both had to have.  As it is, we will be paying off my medical bills for surgeries for years to come.

   So there it is, my little rant for the day.  Sometimes things like this just build up and I have to get them off my chest.  I have my volunteer work later today and will be taking our littlest grandson with me since I will be watching him while his mommy is at an interview for a job and his daddy is at work.  I am praying that no one complains today about what we don't have and will just be thankful for what we do.  The program may be shutting down soon for lack of volunteers and funding and I worry about people like that sweet elderly gentleman and the single mom working 2 jobs.  I am praying that more younger people will rise to the challenge and volunteer for this program.  Those of us doing it now are honestly not able to do all the heavy lifting involved anymore.  I would hate to see it go.
 

 


 

 

 

37 comments:

  1. I'm right there with you on your soap box. I, too, was on food stamps for a very short time when I first graduated from college and could not find work. I was 'too' qualified for some jobs and not qualified enough for others. I was out of work long enough that I was so glad food stamps were there.
    I remember trying to get the most out of those stamps and mostly ate vegetarian meals since beans and split peas were cheap protein. My memory was of a summer filled with 'zucchini spaghetti' and 'zucchini split pea soup'.

    My first job was a retail job at a health food store. I still remember being so upset when one of my regulars came in and paid with food stamps. Back in the day where it was coupons. He had bought them off some one. I was so angry that someone could cheat so badly.

    My pet peeve was hearing someone on WIC complain that there were too many cereals that they couldn't use them all. Really??, I thought. If you were really hungry, you'd appreciate all that 'cereal' which includes rolled oats!

    Canada doesn't have food stamps like the US. People here have to go to the food bank, show id, get a card and then they're allowed to go weekly. Some of the local churches also offer food pantries. I haven't done any of that although I've thought I should.
    I have gone to a non-profit grocery store. Clients have to be referred to shop there from a social service agency or church. It's where I can buy $0.10 loaves of bread and such. Most of the food is donated from grocery stores although some is purchased by the non-profit. They put limits on most things. So, for instance, there will be a limit of one for sliced bread, one box of cereal, etc. People can also earn 'store dollars' there - if they volunteer for 10 hours in the week, they receive a voucher good for $15 to use in store. I wish I had the energy to volunteer there. They also get discounted toiletries and even pet food.

    I hope your food distribution center continues. I imagine it is quiet helpful to your community.

    SJ

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    1. Hi SJ, I think the programs in Canada are something that we here in the USA could definitely learn from. I read another one of your replies further down and I love the idea of the Community Kitchen! Now that is something that I really think would be wonderful where people could not only learn to prepare the meal and eat it, but also learn about nutrition and take food home with them while having child care also provided during that time. These are innovative and helpful programs that I think would benefit so many people! I also like the idea of being able to go to the non profit grocery store and being able to earn store dollars by volunteering there also. I think being able to get discounted toiletries and even pet food would be such a huge blessing.

      Big changes happening at our food distribution now. When we got down there today there were all kind of new rules and regulations in place. In the past, we have had to get a signed note saying we can pick up food for our shut ins and deliver it to them. Then came the official forms that needed to be signed and returned every 3 months. Now we have to print out something on our personal computers and have it signed every month with the person's income included. They are also making it so that only people below a certain income level can get certain food products now. About half of the food that we distributed today was only for people within that category. I saw the income limits and believe me, they were so low that a lot of the people there who need the food will not be able to get it. It made me so sad. I can see this hurting so many people who will not want to come down and reveal their income every single month and also make it so that many of our regulars who need the help will also not come because if you are not under that super low income line, you will get very little in the way of help. It almost makes me feel like they are making it harder hoping that people won't come anymore. :(

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  2. I understand your point, but haven't you ever made some bad/immature decisions when you were younger? I know I have. Of course, we wouldn't make them now, because we are older and wiser.

    Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-2

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    1. Yes, I have made bad decisions in the past and I have paid for them. If I went out and bought alcohol, a bunch of junk food or anything for that matter when I was in college, then it had to come out of my budget. I worked my way through college and had to be extremely careful with my money. I was not on any kind of public assistance, scholarships, PELL grants, etc..
      Here is the thing though, I am all for helping people who really have hit hard times and who are struggling. I am also all for a system that will help people make better choices nutrition wise and help them to learn to budget better so they can stretch the money further. I am all for trying to be the helping hand to help young families that are struggling feed their children healthy foods and to help other who are also struggling to do the same. We have been there ourselves. What I am not for is the blatant abuse of the system that was set up to help people who are actually struggling by people who have learned to play and cheat the system and who are perfectly capable of working but choose not to because they can live a comfortable life while other people work their butts off barely squeaking by and are actually paying (through taxes) to support the people abusing the system.

      Maybe I am cynical but I have been dealing with these kinds of situations for so long. In the field that I used to work in and through my volunteer work, in addition to what I see at the grocery stores, I have seen so much abuse and outright fraud. So yes, it makes me mad when people do these things because it leave less funding available for the people who actually need the help. I believe in being a good steward of all that God has blessed us with and helping people who really are in need.

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  3. Yes, I agree with you completely. But I don't know an answer to this situation.
    So many people now don't know how and don't want to learn to cook- it's too much work for them. I fear this is all just going to get worse.
    We were in a big grocery store this week and had to go to customer service and the man that worked there was saying he wished there was a crackdown on food stamp fraud. I expect he sees things like you saw at Winco all day long.

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    1. Hi Rhonda, I wish I knew that answers too. My husband used to work in the grocery store business years ago when we first moved back up to this area and while we had to go on food stamps to feed our family, he saw food stamp fraud and abuse all the time. It seemed ironic that someone who worked in a grocery store, surrounded by food, was not paid enough to feed his own family and had to take side jobs as well and go on food stamps to make sure we had a roof over our heads and food on the table.

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  4. There but by the grace of God go I. I am thankful to have never needed assistance. I Canada, there are no food stamps or EBT cards. You are on your own once you have maxed out food banks.
    Sad.

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    1. It is sad Theresa. This is why I get so upset. When people truly need assistance, I want it to be there for them. When people abuse the system, then there is less funding to help people who really need it.

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  5. Also ---Our food bank runs what they call 'community kitchens'. The 'kitchens' are a class that runs 4 weeks (it could be 6 weeks). The participants cook a meal together, eat the meal together and then take home enough to serve the meal to their families. Some of the kitchens will also provide the ingredients so the class members can cook the meal again. Each week is a different menu. During the meal there is a talk about nutrition. They also provide child care and snacks for the kids during the class time.
    I participated in a few of the 'kitchens' before I got CFS.
    Cheers, SJ

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  6. I totally understand your rant. There does need to be some changes in the system.
    I add my groceries up as I go, so I have an idea of what I am spending - and I won't pay over a certain amount for certain things. I am just being responsible with my funds.
    Nothing gripes me more than seeing steaks, lobster shrimp and every kind of chip around on the conveyor belt and being paid with EBT. YES, I have seen it.

    It is not that I begrudge someone of these items, but it shouldn't be purchased on the tax payers dime.
    I can buy whatever I want - it is not like I am broke - just trying to be a good steward of what I DO HAVE.
    I wish all did that.

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    1. I love your reply Cheryl and you put into words so well what I am also feeling.

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  7. Speak away Debbie! I have some family members that play the system. It makes me super mad to see them post on FB about their new iphone or this and that. I would feel like a queen if I had a $600/mo grocery budget! There was even some family members who got divorced but still live togehter so she could get more assistance. I'm fine with those who get assistance and really need it but it burns me to see those who abuse it.

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    1. I can totally understand your frustration and anger with those situations Wendi. We know people who do the same things. How can they afford to be buying boats, big screen tvs, nice cars, the latest iphones, and go on vacations when they are on public assistance and have been for years?

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  8. I can't imagine going to a food bank and complaining about the food that is being given to me free. Makes me wonder if they really need it-plus shows a total lack of gratitude and absolutely no class. The young women you mentioned being behind in line- this reeks of Food Stamp fraud! I determined eligibility for Food Stamps for over 20 years--this smells of fraud-- boyfriend/husband in the home and not reported, income not reported. I enjoyed my job most of the time as a lot of the people I saw were struggling and appreciated the Food Stamp program and did not consider it an entitlement- but was I ever glad to retire from it. So from a Food Stamp worker background, the Food Stamp program definitely needs revamping regarding what can be purchased and stiffer fraud penalties. Sure hope your food bank doesn't close- it was the clients that really needed the assistance of the Food Stamp program and were grateful for it that made my job enjoyable and rewarding.

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    1. Delorise, it is so good to hear from someone who actually worked on determining food stamp eligibility for all those years. Thank you for being there to help the people who really were in need and appreciated the help. I like the way you put it about those families not seeing it as an entitlement. Our case worker, when we needed help, was a wonderful woman who told us some horror stories of some of the people that came in demanding help and who got angry when it was determine that they were trying to commit fraud and got cut off. The police had to be called on several occasions for her own protection. I felt so bad for her because she went out of her way to help all her clients. I ran into her years later at the hospital and she still remembered us as being the only clients she ever had that tried to give back our food stamps and took ourselves off the program because even though we still qualified for it, we were at a point where we could, through careful budgeting, cooking mainly from scratch, gardening and shopping sales and making our money and food stretch, pay for our own groceries again. I suspect that you are very much like her. :)

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    2. I always tried to treat my clients like I would want to be treated because I realized that my life could change in an instance and it could be me on the other side of that desk. Thank heavens, my nice, tell me what I need to provide and I will provide it, when is my review appointment I will keep it or call to reschedule clients out numbered the demanding, refuse to take responsibility ones. I still think about some of my nice clients and wonder how they are doing-like the young man and his family--he was working toward his goal to be a doctor--I bet he achieved it.

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    3. I'll bet you could do a google search on him and see if he has achieved his dream. :) I'll bet he will never forget you and the help you gave him in making his dream a reality. :)

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  9. the united states is a compassionate country. a country without food assistance is no good to its citizens. that being said, there are two problems in the food stamp "industry" fraud and lobbying. in the state of maine the governor has fought and is fighting for stricter guidelines and fraud controls. he is met with opposition from everywhere! i worked in a grocery store and saw firsthand what people bought with their foodstamps. soda, cookies, cakes ($40 birthday cakes) unbelievable! i don't understand why it can't follow the same guidelines as the federal WIC programs. you can only buy healthy foods through that. people can too easily convert the foodstamp money to cash.

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    1. You are right about it being too easy to convert the food stamp money to cash. I am amazed at how blatant some people are about "selling" their EBT card benefits for cash. I have seen people advertising to do just that on some of the buy sell and trade groups online that I belong to.

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    2. Lifeonthewink....many non-Americans would disagree with your first sentence. A country that does not provide free healthcare for it's citizens is not good to it's citizens.

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    3. Theresa, healthcare in America is a very hot topic. I do think that America is a compassionate country overall. I also think that Americans do want everyone to have access to affordable health care but there is a huge disagreement on how to do that without raising taxes sky high. Free healthcare is not actually free when you consider how high the tax rates would have to be to cover it...everyone is still paying for it one way or another.

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  10. I just read your reply about the new rules in place at your distribution center. I'm sure someone thought they were a good idea but didn't think through the real world impacts. Or, maybe you're right and the rules are to limit participation.
    It reminded me of talking with a pastor who's church runs a food pantry. In summers past, my community garden donated produce to their programs and I got to deliver many weeks. Anyway, the pastor was saying how upset her congregation was with the food bank here. The official are food bank requires all of their clients to register with official government identification. The pastor was saying some people weren't comfortable with that and the church started their own food pantry for anyone who showed up.
    Also remembered - I haven't shared the down side to the non-profit grocery. It opens at 9am and I made the mistake of being there at the opening. So many people were pushing and shoving me that I started going later in the day. I found it very sad when people were so rude - especially when there was plenty for everyone. The last time I went at the opening, I was waiting for my turn and some woman pushed past me. Well, I'm 5'9" and over 200# so I was just a little surprised some woman could physically move me out of the way to get past me. And, even there, people try and break the rules. The rules being the limits on how many of certain things you can buy. Like someone coming to the cashier with 5 boxes of cereal when the limit is one.
    Ok, I'll stop my rant. SJ

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    1. ((((HUGS)))) my friend. I can't believe how rude some people can be. please go My husband and I encountered a very rude woman recently while doing our volunteer work. We pack up food and deliver to 2 shut ins so we always tell people to please go ahead of us so we don't hold up the line while people are picking out the food. There was a lady behind us who was rolling her eyes and glaring at me because we were going to slow for her. There were several other people in front of her and it is a narrow aisleway. We were also helping a young mother and her her adorable little girl with their picks too. This rude woman finally just pushed her way in front of the 2 other people in front of her and past us. We finally just moved to the back side of the shelves and got stuff from there so we were out of people's way. We have limited meat choices and the rule is that if you have a big family, you get a bigger package of meat. If you are a smaller family, you get a smaller package of meat. This woman grabbed 2 huge bags of chicken even though she has a family of 2 and was picking up for another family of 2. Working there I know family sizes because the past forms had you list your family size. Ok, onto the fresh produce. A very generous family, who runs a small farm and makes their living selling produce at the local Farmer's Market along with raising sheep for wool and food, had donated some nice fresh green beans. The sign said take what you want. The distribution had just opened up and this woman filled 2 bags to the top with the beans. She took half of what was in the huge basket leaving very little for the rest of the people to come. The rest of us behind her only took enough for one meal so that there would be some for others. I'll tell you, the dirty looks that woman got from everyone else said it all.

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  11. As someone who didn't qualify for food stamps some thirty years ago I have issues with the program today. I see so much craziness with what people buy. I remember cooking rice and beans while I slept and setting an alarm to wake up and stir the pots so I could get a little sleep and still go to my two jobs to pay the rent and utilities for me and my two boys. Everything we ate was homemade. And I grew a small garden because that's all the area we had at the duplex.

    I agree we need better education for those receiving food stamps. Classes on looking for deals and how to use / cook the foods they get. TP, dish soap, laundry and body soap / shampoo, etc... should be allowed.

    My niece was complaining because she quit a good job she had worked at 11 years so she could be home with the kids and her husband decided to quit his job of only one year a month later. So now they think the system should take care of them so they don't have to miss out on raising their children. All I see is kids who are worried they won't have a house to live in. Her husband only worked 1 year out of the 13 they have been married. Don't people think?

    They get 750.00 in food assistance a month and say they can't make it - kids are 14, 11 and 5. They shop at the stores I can't afford to walk into. They also decided to start feeding their dog a raw meat diet and spent grocery assistance feeding their dog steaks nearly every day. I always thought she had a brain in her head but now I wonder.

    Sorry for the rant. I just get so frustrated with people who are entitled and don't even appear to be looking for work and both are able bodied.

    My mom spends about 75.00 a month on food and her neighbors all share produce they grow. I still watch sales, loss leaders, cook most all our meals and still feed others that need food assistance. I just don't get it. Yep, the system is broken and probably going broke too. Plus I know a senior lady in KY who lives on just over 700.00 a month. She's on assistance of housing and utilities at 535.00 a month plus car insurance and she just got her food stamps cut from 110 to 80 a month. Crazy.

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    1. P.S. While I would never want to see someone go hungry I am saddened by the poor nutrition choices people make to feed their children and how seniors who have worked their whole lives and now need a little assistance are penalized for being older. No one can tell me it doesn't happen because I've seen it first hand many times. I think WIC is a good program because they do try to give access to good healthy food choices. But I hear griping about it too from those receiving it.

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    2. Crystal, I understand your frustration. Feeding their dog a raw meat diet and using the food stamps to cover the cost of his steaks??? WOW!!! That makes me so angry. I also don't understand why they are getting assistance if he is not even trying to get work. To me that is abusing the system. I really like the way the WIC program is run overall. I feel so bad for seniors who are struggling just to scrape by while able bodied people who refuse to work get so many benefits. The system is really screwed up.

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  12. The system sure is messed up, Debbie. I too become upset when I see people buying expensive convenience foods and snack with their food stamps, while I'm buying beans and rice, especially at tax time. Ha! I remember when my sister needed assistance back in the 60s, she received government surplus (canned meat, veggies, oatmeal, powdered milk, etc.) Communities and churches helped the needy back then too. The food wasn't the greatest, but it was more nutritious then most of the junk people are buying these days. Plus because it wasn't the most appealing things, it was an added incentive to find employment and get off the dreaded assistance. I think it has Benjamin Franklin that said that the most charitable thing a government could do is make people uncomfortable in their poverty. Been very poor myself and probably qualified for some assistance when I was young, but I'm glad I didn't take it. It was the training ground for my entire life of thrift and the impetus to do better.

    HUgs
    Jane

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    1. Jane!!!! I am so happy to see you here again. How have you been my friend? I hope you are having a great Summer. I have been popping in to check on your blog periodically to see if you are back to blogging. I have missed you! Big HUGS!!!!

      Up until about 10 years ago, we were still distributing those same surplus foods with my volunteer work. We were told that they were trying to clean out all the powdered milk they had stored up before it went bad. We had lots and lots of powdered milk to give out. ;) We still have the instant mashed potatoes from the government surplus coming in.

      When I was very young, my family was really poor too. Over the years, my parents were able to increase the family income and they invested well. I remember there being very little food in the house and learning that when there was food, you stretched it as far as you could. I took those lessons with me and they served me well and still do. I still try to stretch our food and I now keep a very deep pantry. Food insecurity is a real fear for me.

      Be blessed!

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  13. I have a monthly grocery budget of $75 and I think I manage very well on that to feed myself. I think we are more careful with our spending when the money comes out of our own pocket. One of my friends works at a grocery store and she has seen all what you describe and more.

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    1. I believe you are right about that Bless!

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  14. When I was a kid we got commodity food for a few months when dad got knocked off a loading dock at work and shattered his knee cap. Mom stretched that food so much and it was good food you just had to cook it. I have an old Commodity Food Cook booklet that they used to give out to teach you house to use the stuff like bulgar and corn meal, etc.... I love that little booklet. Full of recipes for good basic food.

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    1. Crystal, I wish they would still give out those kinds of books. I really do think they would help. :)

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  15. I travelled over here after reading Bless’s blog. I'm interested in what you have all written, although it's a bit different in the UK. Food banks have appeared everywhere over the last few years though and many supermarkets have containers where you can donate items.

    I was born after the war in the late 1940’s when not only was there very little money about, but rationing continued until 1954.

    Not that I was aware of it at the time obviously, but my father survived Dunkirk, El Alamein and Salerno ( he landed alongside American forces) - then ironically when seemingly ‘safe’ and shortly after I was born, he had a terrible accident where he was crushed between his lorry and a wall where he worked for the ministry of defence in a munitions factory.

    No compensation and very, very little money to survive on - rent was priority. Consequently I grew up knowing the value of money and the difference between want and need. Over the years we have had very difficult times ourselves, but despite living on the outskirts of London we have always grown as much as we could - and foraged! Bills always had to be paid - but early trials and tribulations teach you a lot.

    Today I'm quite shocked when I see what people put in their shopping trolleys at the supermarkets - small private shops are getting fewer as time passes. Sometimes I'm horrified to hear what the bill comes to for whoever is in front of me. I do notice many people using their credit cards, so goodness only knows if those bills are being paid off each month. I'm not complacent or smug; I just wonder/worry about what the future holds for people now. Kind regards from the U.K.

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    1. Hi Blossom and welcome. :)

      Your father sounds like a truly amazing man. I am so sorry that after all he went through during the war, he was hurt so badly shortly thereafter.

      I love foraging also and have been able to do so close to home. There are wild plum trees that grow up the road from me and I have made jams, dehydrated and eaten those fresh too. I just came in from picking tomatoes in our front garden and still need to check the blueberry bushes in the back yard. My DIL Rachel was going to pick wild blackberries down at the river this weekend, but we have heavy smoke from wildfires filling the air so they wisely stayed home.

      Be blessed and I look forward to getting to know you better. :)

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