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Monday, November 19, 2012

You got a problem with my food stamps?

I can't contain myself on this one anymore.

There's a story behind it. A lot of us bloggers/facebook page admins become friends sort of "behind the scenes". We add each other to our personal facebook pages and get to know each other and we have a great time and whatnot.

Anyway, there's this awesome chick behind The Klonopin Chronicles that I have gotten to know better recently. She's really cool and you need to go check out her page and her blog when you get a chance. Because I said so, that's why.

Anyway, she posted an image on her personal page, and it really hit home from me.

Klonnie shared this from a page called Cheaper than Freaking Therapy - I don't know if the admin behind that page was the original creator of the image, but that's where it came from to the best of my knowledge (please, if you know that I'm wrong, correct me).

Anyway, I shared it on my personal profile as well, because it's no big secret that once upon a time in the not-so-distant past, I was on food stamps. And I took a lot of criticism, both from people I knew and from total strangers. When I posted this, it sparked some discussion about various perceptions of people who use food stamps, how they dress, what they drive, and what they purchase.

It's been bugging me. It really has.

Probably the main reason is because I was that person. I was the person buying food for my family with food stamps. I also used to be a case manager, and dealt with people who had to jump through hoops to get them - or worse yet, got them and abused them.

I am not so naive that I would believe that no one abuses the system. I know that it happens. I've seen it happen, and I've busted people for it in the past. But I've also seen so many people who have been so unfairly judged for whipping out that EBT card to pay for their food.

So, in order to get it off of my chest, here's some more food for thought in addition to what's listed in that image up there.

You see her buying junk food and you just can't believe that she would do that with food stamps.
Maybe, just maybe, her child's birthday is coming. She's been saving her food stamp money for the past couple of months in order to get some cake, ice cream, chips, candy, and soda so that finally, her pre-teen daughter can have a birthday party and invite her girlfriends over for a sleepover and they can pig out on junk food all night, just like any other kid their age does. Maybe her daughter will finally feel as though she fits in with her peers.

Ugh, she's buying so much processed food. Look at all of that frozen crap that she's buying - she should be cooking "good" food instead of buying that crap!
Yeah, in a perfect world - I agree. However, I also know that when I was working 2 jobs and trying to take care of my kids on my own, I didn't always have time to make those wonderful home-cooked meals from scratch. I did it as much as I could. But there were days when I was so exhausted that I couldn't see straight, and so I grabbed a frozen corn dog and a pop tart for my supper at 1am after I got home from my second job and inhaled them and went to bed. I hate to tell you this, but sometimes convenience and sanity wins over good solid nutrition - and everyone is guilty of it once in a while. While you see her purchasing "crap", you don't see that she actually has meals already prepared and in the freezer at home - but sometimes, she just needs something easy to nuke and eat so that she can take care of the kids' homework and laundry and spend quality time with them instead of cooking.

OMG - she has a smart phone! How can she afford that if she has food stamps???
Like the image up there suggests, maybe it was a gift, and the giver pays the bill for it so that she can stay safe from an abusive ex-partner. Or maybe she bought it used off of craigslist (like I did), and doesn't have cable or internet at home (like me), so the phone is her only connection to the outside world. She uses it for all of her internet access so that she doesn't have to pay a separate bill, yet she can take it with her and feel safe when she is traveling with her young children.

Her car is nicer than mine!
Maybe it belongs to a friend. Maybe her brother loaned it to her. Maybe she already owned it before her world fell apart and she lost everything that she had except for the car and what she could fit into it when she left. Sure, she could sell it and get something older - but this one is newer and dependable and she knows that she can count on it to get her to work and get her kids to the doctor when they need to go.

Her purse - is that a Coach bag? OhMyGodSheIsTrulyEvilForHavingThatBag!!!
Again, maybe it's a knock-off. Maybe she found it at a yard sale and the seller didn't know its true worth before tossing it in the "Everything's $1" box, but while she was trying to find some decent "new" clothes for her and her kids, she found it. Or, maybe it was a gift from her husband - yet another expensive gift that he bought her to try to make up for the fact that he beat the hell out of her a few days before.

I've seen her house before - it's bigger and nicer than mine is!
And your point is what? Do you know for a fact that she owns the house? Maybe she's renting it from a family member. Maybe it was left to her when her grandmother passed away. Maybe it was approved for low-income housing and she's paying rent based on the income that she gets off of her 2 jobs. Maybe she and her abusive husband owned it, but now it's in the midst of the foreclosure process and she is saving every penny that she has so that she can get a place of her own and move out of it and get to a place where he can't ever find her again.

And here's another explanation that I bet 95% of people don't even think about....

Maybe the food stamps aren't even hers.
Maybe she's shopping for her elderly aunt who is disabled and can't get out of the house easily. Her aunt gave her the list that she had made and her EBT card and sent her to the store to get what she needs - because if someone can just do the shopping for her, she can take care of herself. Or maybe she's a home healthcare provider and she's shopping for one of her clients who is terminally ill. Maybe she's shopping for her father who has slipped through the cracks of the system and isn't getting the pension that he has waited on for years.

My point is this: Unless you personally know the individual using the card, and you know for a fact that he/she is abusing the system, keep your judgments to yourself. Some people are lucky enough to never need assistance to get out of a tough situation in their lives - and some of us aren't that lucky. Sometimes we need help. It happens. Every person has a story, every person is different, and every person has a right to live his/her life without being judged by total strangers.

Because to put it quite bluntly, judgmental people suck.


(Note: To those people who commented on the above image on my personal profile, this is NOT aimed at you at all. I'm glad that conversation remained civil. Some of your comments just reminded me of things that were said to me in the past by strangers - and a few friends at the time - but I am seriously not aiming this at anyone in particular. Please don't be upset with me.)

148 comments:

  1. I think the real compelling issue about the processed foods is that they are significantly cheaper than fresh foods. It is undeniable that eating healthier is more expensive, and so it isn't just a matter of having no time to prepare but also an issue of common sense. If you need food stamps you need to get the most bang for your buck, and if you can get four cans of ravioli for the price of one bushel of brocolli, well hello ... you get the four cans because that could potentially be four meals. I've never been on food stamps and feel very fortunate that I have not had to endure some of the abuse people give to those in need. Whatever happened to compassion?

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    1. Bingo! You nailed it perfectly! Ramen noodles are horrible nutrition-wise, but you know what? They're really cheap. And easy. And you can make them stretch. So yeah, it's not just the convenience factor, but the processed stuff is cheaper too.

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    2. Totally agree! White bread is 99 cents while real wheat bread is at least $3 a loaf!

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    3. That's very true but I also learned that it depends on where you live too...i'm lucky that i've been able to buy greens by the boat load for under $20 other places i've lived...not so much...but overall anything organic or wheat or healthy are all more expensive and it sucks!

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    4. Agree with you 100%. I was on food stamps for a few years and had to get what would go further rather than what was 'better'.

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  2. This.... so much THIS. I have a $400 phone. You know why? I got it for free when I upgraded to a smart phone, years after everybody else had one. My nails are almost always done. People compliment them all the time, because they are always pretty detailed. You know what? I looked up tutorials, and do them myself. I don't think we look poor at all. I don't understand why someone has to look poor to be poor.

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    1. Exactly! But we already knew that we would agree on this one! ;)

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    2. I am a Coach bag (hand me down) carrying, Smartphone using (my fiance works at walmart and we get a BIG discount not only on the phone itself, but I pay TWENTY bucks a month for it's use), Newer vehicle driving ( its the fiance's truck -that he bought prior to falling in love with a divorced, abused mother of MANY ) EBT card user. We went 6 weeks this summer with NO money for food - literally spent $50.00 biweekly and visited a food pantry weekly until we got the food stamps. My ex husband has not supported our six children in the entire time since I left him in 2004. Not before and not after being released from prison for domestic violence. If he DID pay the ordered $2400.00/ a month that was ordered, we would not qualify for assitance. So MY personal answer to critics is "take up with the deadbeat - no the two people IN the home who DO support my family."

      this picture you reference nearly stopped me breathing - Never EVER have I felt like something was written with me in mind like that one was. Thank you for addressing it and being honest about your past and reminding people that the working poor are not inbred mentally challenged hillbillies that abuse the system...well, not all of them anyway =) Poverty has a face, and it is the face of FAMILIES doing their best, and failing to thrive in this economy. Its MY face, damnit. <3

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    3. Thank you, thank you, thank you - for taking the time to share your story. I really really do appreciate it! So many single parents are unwillingly thrown into the system by deadbeat ex-spouses, and it's truly unfortunate because the kids are the ones who truly suffer. But so many are so quick to judge the parents without taking that into consideration. It's awful.

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    4. i am so glad I came across this and that you were brave enough to post it!! I agree with you 100% on it all!!! I have had these same thoughts for a looooooong time!!!

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  3. I hate the comments about "my tax dollars pay for this or that". My husband lost his job back i 2008 when the economy plummeted. He had paid into the same system as everyone else did for more than 20 yrs. So when we had to go on food stamps for 6 months while he looked for another job, I thought of it as taking back a bit of what we had paid in. Because honestly thats what you are doing, if you're not abusing it that is.

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    1. That is so my situation. my job closed and my husband has been cut in hours and it was my last resort to get food stamps. I hesitated because...what would people think. Then I remembered I have worked my butt off since I was 15 and until this year I paid those same taxes so finally I had to get food stamps so I could feed my 5 kids. Although I know I need them I still cringe every time I pull out that card to shop and I can feel people judging me.

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    2. @JoAnna - You are exactly right. It's there to help those that need it. Granted, there will always be abusers, but not everyone does that.

      @ravenwebster0426 - You are exactly the type of person who I am talking about. You're on them because you need them and no one has the right to judge you for that. I hope that things turn around for you!

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    3. ravenwebster0426, You could always get you some sort of sticker and put it across the front of the card, or at least where it has the logo or whatever it is. I just know what the cards here in Texas look like, and that is exactly what I did to my card when I had to have food stamps.

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  4. Yep. I'm currently on food stamps. Not that I want to be. I'm not proud of it at all, but without them, my children and I would either be living here, but starving, or we'd be living in my car and eating decent. I also have a pre-paid $10 walmart phone. My children and I wear hand me down or good will clothes most of the time. And yet, I get funny looks every time I go to the store. I shop two weeks at a time, so the cart is always full. Yes there are some snacks and soda in the cart, but only if there's enough money left on the card for them. Most of what I buy is fresh veggies and meats, although the frozen or preservative filled foods are much cheaper. I can't stand the judgmental people who terrorize those of us who actually use the services that are provided for us. It's not like we brag about it. We don't go out and party away our paychecks just so we can get food stamps. (Well, not most of us anyway). I agree with you 100%.

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    1. Thank you so much for coming by and commenting! There's definitely a balance to be struck between buying the more expensive healthy stuff and the cheaper processed stuff - and it's so difficult to find that balance.

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    2. Thank you, thank you..I WORK part-time, (When I go back to work in 6 days, I get paid for ONE week, because I work at a college, and we are on break..) Then after Christmas, we are on a break for 4 WEEKS< GUESS WHAT> You still have to eat!
      DO NOT be SCARED to use food stamps.. I DO, and so does my bf, GUESS WHAT AGAIN? He's disabled and hAS WORKED 2 jobs in the past to support his son, so DON't ever be ashamed to use them, and as far as the car goes,.,.,WE ARE ALL ENTITLED TO AT LEAST 1 car..and it MAY not be paid off, As for me, I don't have one, it shit the bed..SO BEFORE U JUDGE PEOPLE..PEOPLE< PUT YOUR IN THEIR SHOES.. JUST like the elderly (WHICH we working people will be in about 20 years) Sometimes it's HEAT or EAT,,OR MEDICINE..Thanks for letting me vent..Thanks for the post..NON-STOP MOM!

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  5. Theres also those comments of, "maybe you should stop having kids if you can't afford them." My first child was unplanned, we both worked and were excited. We planned our second child since my husband has a decent job. 5 months after our second, I got pregnant again (obviously unplanned) then a year or so later....along comes number four. My birth control failed. A few people mentioned adoption even. I'm on food stamps and while I'm not proud of it, I'll never be ashamed because I refuse to let my kids starve. Putting four kids in daycare is outrageously expensive. I wouldn't even make enough to cover that. I DO judge people who I see with carts full of crab legs and all name brand items while I struggle to buy the cheapest of everything. And I'm also a little jealous, how do they have enough to buy all the most expensive things, when I have to live with the store brand cheese that tastes funny because it's $2 cheaper?

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    1. AMEN, when we had the kids we COULD afford them. It's not our fault the ecomomy sucks or that life does not work as you want it to.

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    2. @Anonymous - I would get that kid comment a lot. Things change after a child is conceived, and it's no one's place to judge anyone for the amount of kids that they have (I wrote a blog about that too) or for anything else. We are all different and we all have our own stories.

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    3. no one should comment about stop having kids ...if u or anyone ever hears it again turn around and blast em with sorry i couldnt kill my child anymore than u can stop being a rude bitch

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    4. That's funny right there! lol Love it!

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    5. You judging people who work hard and/or have good paying jobs and can afford crab legs is just as bad as someone judging you for using food stamps.

      I made life choices that mean I have to budget and buy store brands. My brother made life choices that allow him to afford anything he wants. He worked hard to get there including forgoing a salary for three years when he started a company to make sure he could pay his employees. He and his wife lived off her salary, did without and sacrificed until the company became viable and then really took off. I don't begrudge him or anyone like him one red cent or crab leg.

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    6. The judgment really can go both ways though, and I can see both sides of it. Of course there is always the judgment of the people using the food stamps, but I also admit that there have been times that I've looked at people buying the expensive stuff and being a little ticked off that they could "waste their money" on that. Yes, it's their right to spend their money as they choose, but sometimes it's still hard to see it without feeling a bit bitter. Judgmental of me? Yes. Probably also a touch of jealousy.

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    7. That's my whole point. People are complaining for being judged for using food stamps and "wasting money" on junk food and then turning around and judging others for being able to afford expensive foods and calling it "wasting money". You admit to being jealous and yet are pissed off when people resent those using food stamps. You don't want to be judged but are judging others. (That is a collective "you" and not just a personal "you".) It is extremely hypocritical.

      You don't know their circumstances. You don't know what they went through to be able to afford those things or what sacrifices they made to get to that point.

      In conclusion, just as people do not know the whys and circumstances that necessitate people having to use food stamps and therefore they shouldn't be judged for doing so, neither do people who use food stamps know the whys and circumstance that allow people to afford higher cost foods and therefore shouldn't judge them. If you are going to justify and excuse your feelings and judgments, you have no right to criticize the feelings and judgments of others.

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    8. For clarification - I have absolutely nothing against people who are in need of assistance. My daughter recently left an abusive husband with her young son. She needs a liver transplant and can't get a full-time job and is limited in the kind of work she can do. She receives food stamps because they need them. Abusive hubby won't help her financially and won't file for divorce so child support services won't help her either.

      My son gets disability because he was blown up four times in Iraq and has what is called a TBI (traumatic brain injury) as well as other injuries that prevent him from getting a decent job. He is in pain 24 hours a day and suffers from chronic migraines.

      So, no, I don't judge those on assistance. But I don't begrudge those who are well off either.

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    9. I totally understand where you're coming from - judgment is wrong, period. However, I am human and I admit that I do the same thing at times. I'm not proud of myself, and it's something that I've made a conscious effort to stop doing.

      I truly hope and pray that things work out for your daughter and your son - sounds like they are both in awful situations and I wish nothing but the best for you and your family.

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    10. Thank you. We'll get it all straightened out eventually. We are all pretty tough and not ones to give up nor give in.

      Yes, we all make judgments at times. I didn't really mean to go on a rant. It just kind of burned me up that several here were complaining about being judged and yet were doing the same thing.

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  6. I also blame those who are abusing the system.
    Having worked in several different aspects of the service industry, you get your regulars and when you start talking with them, helping them, you get to find things out.

    Even then you can misconstrue something... but the one thing that I've seen personally that infuriates me most is the person who brings their dealer with them to the store and buys said dealer whatever food dealer wants, then they make a transaction, sometimes so brazen that they haven't even left the self checkout area before goods trade hands.
    I truly feel like alot of the judgmental crap spawns itself from the many documented cases of fraud that exist... and jealousy too, for that matter.

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    1. I think you're totally right on that one, babe. Unfortunately there are a lot of cases where individuals abuse the system, and they're the ones who give those who are honest the bad name. I hate it. I hate it for what I went through and I hate it for those who are still going through it.

      And yes, jealousy. I actually had someone tell me one time "I need to have more kids so that I can get as much in food stamps as you do".....my head about fell off of my shoulders at that point.

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  7. I went on food STamps when my Baby boy was born 10 weeks premature. Because of my long hospitalization prior to his birth, I lost the job I had only gotten 10 months before. Had I had him on his due date I would have qualified for FMLA. It is hard to even look for a job when you have to be at the hospital every 3 hours. I was not ashamed. I had to eat in order to feed my son, and I had worked very hard for 20 years at that point. Shortly after my son got out of the Hospital, I moved home and ended my relationship with his father due to his drug use and physical abuse. While on assistance I put myself through school and got a good paying job, however, in this economy it not enough when his father does not help pay for anything. That would mean that he would actually have to sober up and get a job. My clothes I buy at the good will, Salvation Army, thrift stores, garage sales or at an outlet if I have to have new. I have alot of nice things, but most of them used to belong to someone else.

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    1. You are another perfect example of the people who are unfairly judged. Thank you so much for coming by and commenting - I really do appreciate it.

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  8. And maybe her husband won't get a job and help support the family and she's got a less than part time job making $8 an hour.
    I've got a smart phone that my mom pays for and every 2 years I get an upgrade. I drive a Chrysler 300 which was a gift from my step dad for completing my 3 years probation and 2 years community control.
    Oh my goodness she had kids and she went to jail! Yes shit happens and people get arrested. I know I was doing wrong and I was 18 and still wanted my teen years.sorry i'm not a prefect parent. I with my past its stupid hard to get a job and that's not even with the unemployment rate of this country.
    Now that I've grown up I wish I could support my family without the help of others. But sometimes that's not possible.

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    1. Oh Samantha, thank you for sharing your story! I'm just glad to see that you didn't fall into the pattern of crime that happens to so many people. People can change, and people grow up, but sadly the past is always there to haunt them. I wish you the very best in the future! <3

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  10. Back in March my husband took a major deduction in pay, well major for us ($600 a month). By June we had exhausted our savings and were starting to gain a great deal of credit card debt. We applied for food stamps. My family of 6 received $125. People see us at the store with all our kids and just assume that we are freeloaders or don't deserve to have children because we need the assistance temporarily. Let me assure all those people who believe this. $125 does not go far esspecially when a gallon of milk is $4. Yes I have nice things... I had them before I needed the help. I don't have cable. I don't eat out at restaurants. Or do numerous other things.I know where the stereotypes stream from. No one believes that someone could just need the help to get through a rough patch. People abuse the system. I know there are plenty of people out there who get 7 times more than my family and sell them. That doesn't mean everyone who does need help sucks and doesn't deserve help.

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    1. You are another great example of the people who are unfairly judged. I truly hope that things get better for you and your family and that you are able to get through this rough time! <3

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  11. Hey there. I saw this image a few weeks ago as well, right in time for the elections. My personal FB page is full of people who want to rant and rave about their political views, and there was one friend in particular I wanted to read that image. I had seen he and his other friends complain about what someone was buying with their EBT card on more than one occasion (and my favorite, going on and on about people and their Obama-phones.) I took the time to write a paragraph or 3 about it. Pointing out, like you did, that they have no idea of someone's circumstances. While I never received food stamps, when I was a single mom I did get our free state sponsored health insurance, WIC and HeadStart for my son. I was "one of them." I remember being in line at the grocery story buying my WIC items (the cereal had to dub as dinner that night because my refrigerator was otherwise empty. The store I go to requires a manager ring through those purchases so while we waited the 30 seconds for her to come over, the people behind me started exchanging whispers about the Nike sneakers my son wore. You know, the birthday gift from his grandmother? But honestly, what makes me so irate about people judging is that they seem to think people who need help are happy about needing it and getting it. They don't stop to think about the shame or guilt of having to say to someone "I can't feed my child." They don't stop and realize when you apply for these programs, your life is examined with a microscope and you are questioned like a criminal. They don't get it, because they have never been there and they live on assumptions. What amazed me, is that my intentions came to fruition. I posted, not to change someone's views, but to make them question them. The person I had in mind read it, and debated with me for a moment or two. Then he stopped and realized he was making assumptions based on the premise that some people are 'cheating' the system. But maybe not that person in front of him who doesn't look poor enough. Oh. And I got to tell him that free cell phones for low income folks aren't paid for by one of President Obama's policies...they have been around since the last administration, and they are paid for by the telecom industry...
    Either way, mom, you are amazing. Thank you for sharing this with everyone. When your children are grown, they will look back and see what you had to do to make ends meet. (I grew up poor and never realized how much my parents struggled until I became a parent myself.) You are a source of inspiration for your children, and for the rest of us out here, just doing what we have to in order to get by.
    Have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving.

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    1. Thank you so much, Laney! I love that you took the time to tell this story, and I love that the message is getting out there by any means necessary! Not everyone who is on food stamps (or any kind of welfare) is abusing the system. I wish people would understand that.

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  12. My family is on food stamps, While he had a job only making 8 dollars and hour and we were living out of a motel room that only left us $40 a month for food for Me our son and of course daddy, we were denied 3 times. He lost his job shortly after we got on our feet and well they gave us food stamps. I had even applied for housing through them to get out of the motel we were starving in. The saddest part I feel is that he worked and we genuinely needed help. With Day Care so expensive it was pointless for me to work being as the whole check would have gone to child care. Sometimes the system is so screwed up! The people who really need help can't get it because the system gets abused so much!

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    1. That is another problem. Good quality daycare can be so difficult for the typical family to be able to afford it, and people who haven't "been there" truly don't understand that financially, it just doesn't always make sense to work. It sucks, plain and simple. Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope that things get better for you!

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  13. Thank you for this blog! It is a subject that I have wanted to address on my own blog, but I am to afraid to stir things up so early on in my blogging venture. I use food stamps to feed my family because although my DH works his butt of it isn't enough to make up for the fact that I am unable to work outside of the home. Bottom line is, you can't judge a book by it's cover. I wish more people understood things like you do. This world would be a much better place. Once again thank you and I hope you don't mind if I share your blog on my Facebook page. <3

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    1. I am honored that you would want to share it - please do, because I think that it is a message that needs to be heard. I don't usually do posts like this either because I don't like to stir things up - but every now and then the pot just needs to be stirred, you know? Thanks for coming by!

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  14. I totally agree! That's why I keep my private stuff private. When my husband was out of work, you get the dumb comments of why did you have so many kids if you can't afford them? We are in a good place now, but to be honest we get a lot of breaks having 7 children and I don't care anymore what people think, we get free lunch, discounts on sports, my daughters college app fee was waived etc. I'm sorry if my being home to RAISE my own children instead of working outside the home bothers you. Loved your post :)

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    1. Thank you so much for coming by and commenting - I do appreciate it.

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  15. I just want to ad that even those who do abuse the system have children that dont. The kids are innocent and every child deserves to eat without taking on the guilt caused by people that judge their parents.

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    1. Yes. Yes. This. So much this. Thank you for bringing that up!

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  16. AMEN AND BRAVA!!! Being the single Mom of two boys , of which has Autism I know this pain. I left their abusive Dad in the beginning of 2011. I am in school full time and started my own vintage/antique business last summer after the split. I needed help to feed the boys and the looks I would get while paying for their food with the ebt while I checked my iphone ( a gift from my awesome Dad for my birthday) were disgusting. They had no clue what I had gone through, or what it took to get to where I was. They just saw ebt+iphone and assumed I was a piece of trash. It's hurtful! I have worked since I was 15 stopped full time when I had my kids but still worked part time on and off the first year or so after having them. I needed help one time, asked for it, and got ridiculed. No wonder this country is so screwed up. No one cares about anyone anymore!

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    1. Exactly. So many people are concerned about what everyone else is doing that they forget to focus on the important things. Thanks for commenting!

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    2. So, I'm obviously late to the party- but I want to point something very simple out the everybody using any form of welfare should remember- people are so concerned with what others are using that money for because the economy's tight for them, and if you do have a job, you need every penny, and don't want the taxes they take out of your precious check to be abused. The people who should be the most concerned about welfare fraud are the people who are on welfare. My hubs and I both got forced out of the Navy early because of the budget cuts, so money's tight, but we don't qualify for aid. I count every cent, so yes, I'm concerned when I see somebody who looks like they're just workin the system- that's not where my money should be going. Yes, absolutely, I am sure there are individuals who receive smartphones as gifts, but that's definitely not the common case where I live. Children are seen as cash cows here, and it pisses me off. Produce is super cheap here, but if you go to Walmart, you'll see carts loaded with nothing but crap paid for by EBT- with cash in the wallet. I AM concerned with people using welfare, because my household can't afford to pay someone else to buy crap, and there's no help for us. Just the other side of the coin. A lot of people don't qualify for assistance, and don't want to see money they've earned being wasted.

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  17. I absolutely love this post! It brought tears to my eyes to hear that someone understands! I live with my boyfriend and 2 kids. My boyfriend and I each have 2 jobs and I am also going to school full time. We have NO spare time. We just recently had our food stamps taken away because evidently we have too much income. This means I have to work 3-4 night shifts, 5 day shifts and fit time for school in. Luckily school is online. I am trying to better myself. I don't want to live off the government forever. People judged me all the time for being on food stamps. I never abused them. It just makes me so furious. The worse part is once my daycare assistance caseworker gets word that our income has increased a little we will probably loose that too. Which means I will no longer be able to work days. Its so frustrating! I recently did a research paper on the effects that low income has on health and there is solid evidence that processed food cost less and lasts longer. Also the phone thing...I have a smart phone because I got it when I signed a new 2 year contract. I have internet...without it I wouldn't be able to do my classes. Thank you for this post!

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    1. You are very welcome - so glad that you commented! I hope that you are able to get through this time - it's not going to be easy but it will be worth it in the end!

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  18. Absolutely beautifully written! I have had to use the services before and I couldn't have been more grateful. What frustrates me is the people that stand in line at the grocery store watching exactly what you put on the belt and how you pay. Really? Get over your high and mighty self. You have no idea what I'm going through. Thank you so much for posting this, you rock!

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    1. You are very welcome! Thank YOU for commenting - it's so nice to know that I'm not the only one who felt this way.

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  19. This brought me to tears. I happen to be that mom whose world has fallen apart and I am picking up the pieces. People don't know how hard I work. I literally hide mt EBT card in a sleeve so people can't see it and I use it discreetly. I think that if I became aware of someone judging me or staring, I would actually fall to pieces right then and there and simply say "They don't understand me!" I know I shouldn't feel guilty, because I am one of those that actually needs the help to support my 3 growing children without spousal support (the court keeps going after him, but he slips under the radar). I think society would have preferred it if I had stayed in an abusive marriage so they wouldn't have to "deal" with me, but I took the high road and got out. Every year, the holiday season humbles me and I make it as special as I can afford to. It becomes about togetherness and being thankful for what we already have. I know that I am alive today because of the decision I made to get out, and nothing can change that no matter how judgemental people are. I will keep moving on and find the strength and courage to do the best I can everyday. Thank you for this blog post!

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    1. You are so very welcome, Melissa. Thank you for sharing your story. So many of these comments have truly brought me to tears - I hope and pray that you are able to get through this time. I know that you did the right thing, and you will be stronger for it. I've been there before, and it's not a good place to be. Getting out is the first step, now you do what you have to do to take care of yourself and those babies!

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  20. This is my situation. We are on food stamps as much as I hate it. While pregnant with my oldest my husband lost his job, and I was fired because my FMLA ran out before I was released back to work. In 2 months time we went from $5k a month to being homeless staying with a relative. People that don't understand the situation have no idea how it is. I wish that I could afford to go on vacations all the time and buy my kids all the things they want, but I can't. Other than my bed everything in my home was either a gift or a hand me down from a relative. My electronics were all gifts from my mom and my aunt so I could have a way to coupon and get recipes for homemade products so I can stop spending so much on name brand products. We still aren't back on our feet yet but we are on the way finally. We have struggled with more downs than ups these past 5 years but with both of my kids being able to start school next fall I hope we are gonna be able to stand on our own two feet and not depend on everyone else for help. Thank you so much for this blot entry. Its nice to see that others have struggled and its not just because we are 'lazy' like everyone thinks.

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    1. You are very welome, and thank you for commenting. I hope that things start to look up for you very soon!

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  21. I feel the eyes of judgement on me when I pull out the card. What people don't know is that I am disabled. Since the age of 19. I was diagnosed with a form of muscular dystraphy. I've heard the nasty comments about having children while being disabled. Well I didn't plan on having a child. Her father and I took precaution and still concieved. I may not be in a wheelchair but noone knows what pain I go through. Somedays I wake up feeling great. And some days like today I can't even get out of bed. I am thankful for the help. I get no financial help from my daughter's father which makes it really difficult. I am used to the nasty looks and little side comments. People tell me I need to get a job. I feel like screaming at them "don't you think I've tried?" If I am honest about my disability I don't get hired. I can't help that I am disabled. Don't judge me because of it.

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    1. What a tough situation - I can only imagine how difficult that must be for you. But the #1 priority is to take care of YOU so that you can take care of your daughter. Everything will fall into place after that.

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  22. Thank you. A million times, Thank You. When it was just me and my son, I worked 2 jobs and went to school. I barely made enough to survive, and to be able to feed my son, I had to swallow my pride, wait in a dirty office for 4 hours, jump through many hoops, and ask for food stamps. I was judged by people every time I used them. Sometimes silently. More often, it was out loud and in front if my son. Many mights, I cried myself to sleep, hating myself for not doing it all on my own, wondering if I would ever make it out of the evil "too broke to make it" cycle. Thank you for shedding light on the battle so many face.

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    1. You are very welcome, and thank YOU for commenting and sharing your story. I really do appreciate it!

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  23. We ended up with 2 extra kids when their Mom got thrown in prison. We were barley making ends meet and tried to do the right thing. Standing in line getting dirty looks with my infant and 3 other kids behind me was horrible. I wanted to explain my situation to everyone to make them feel like pieces of shit for judging me with my nice wedding ring set and highlights in my hair. Yes, I have a big car but what would you like me to do? Tie the carseat on the roof? People can be brutal.

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    1. They really can be, and you bring up such an important thing - when people see "that woman" with the dozen kids, they automatically assume that they're all hers. They could be - or they could be daycare kids, or kids that she's fostering, or she brought her kids' friends to the store with her, or whatever. No one knows unless they ask - everyone has a story.

      Thank you for bringing that one up!

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  24. My family is currently using them, too. As well as medicaid. And the really sad part? This time a year ago, my husband was in the Marine Corp. What did he get for 7 years of service AND a medical discharge? No insurance for his kids and a whopping $200 a month. =/

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    1. :( Oh no. I don't like to hear that. I hope that things turn around for you both.

      And thank your husband for his service - and thank YOU for the sacrifices that I know that you made being a military wife!

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  25. It's all about your outlook. I believe the need outweighs the abuses. How can I begrudge families trying to feed their children whether you think they "should" have had them? Most people have no idea how the system they are judging even works. I believe that the majority of people need the services they are using. I believe that my gaze should only extend to the contents of my own cart. I believe that we are all in this together and, that at some point, we have all needed help along the way. I believe that every person, regardless of socio-economic services deserves respect. I extend you the respect I hope I would receive. And, you better believe if my babies were hungry, I would do WHATEVER I had to do and take any assistance available to keep them safe, housed, warm and fed. This was a brave post. Bravo.

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    1. I want to apologize to you - I was just going through my spam comments and somehow yours ended up there and I just found it. The filter works great - most of the time.

      But I do appreciate your comment and your kind words. It's always nice to know that someone else understands! :)

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  26. Excellent post! I recently posted on my FB page this same type of story because a lot of people on my news feed were posting that Obama was re-elected because of hoodrats and started posting about getting 'free' stuff. I, while not attacking anyone indivdually, told my story of being young and fresh out of college and what do you know...pregnant. Because I got my big break after the fact (a pre-existing condition), I was not eligible for insurance to cover my pregnancy and I had to receive Medicaid from the state and because I was eligible for that I also received WIC (Women, Infant & Children) assistance that provided fresh food, milk and other protein filled staples. I was removed from Medicaid upon the birth of my child because I did have insurance through my job and I received WIC for about 18 months after my daughter was born. I tell people all the time that yes, I know there are people who abuse the system (I work for the government so I know!) but I think those people are the exception and not the rule. Most people who receive assistance or have received assistance in the past that I know just needed something to get them to the next level and once they were there, they no longer received the assistance. I think the other thing people need to understand is that some people don't work - even though they're able - and will report that they get more money by not working and receiving assistance because they have young children who need full-time daycare and therefore they don't have money to care and provide for those children because much of it goes to daycare.
    None of us knows someone's circumstances and there is only one judge! So I say carry your Coach purse proudly, wave your iPhone high and wear your fancy pants to the grocery store!

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    1. Thank you so much for coming by and commenting. I did receive WIC as well - and I hated that because there was NO WAY to hide those vouchers from whoever was in line behind me. Luckily, once the dust settled I was able to drop the WIC because the food stamps were enough to cover our needs, so I figured that there was no point in using both.

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  27. This post actually made me tear up. I am a single mother of 2 that cares for her disabled mother. My dad pays my "smart phone" bill and I work full time. I use food stamps and medicaid for my kids because without a little help--things would be pretty dire in my household. Thank you for this elonquently written post.

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    1. You are so very welcome - I'm glad that you left a comment. I hope that things start to look up for you and your family.

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  28. Absolutely amazing Mom!

    I'm a mother of 4 with a disabled fiance'. Two of my children are special needs. I work a full-time minimum wage fast food job. My fiance' just started a work at home job because he is unable to stand at a "regular" job.

    I am also on food stamps. My children get Medacaid.

    I go to work everyday and force a smile to serve food to those people who frown and look down their noses at me when I buy groceries. I do try to make all of our food. But there are times, I'll admit, that I buy what I call "crap" because I'm too tired or I hurt too bad to cook.

    I've listened to people call me dirty nasty names because I use Food stamps.

    I was the mom that went without eating so I could save up my stamps and buy candy bars for my son's 18th birthday "cake".

    It hurts to watch people judge me. I deal with people looking down their noses at me because I'm a middle aged woman working in a fast food restaurant, I don't need the snide comments when I'm trying to feed my family.

    My momma always told me I was a tough ole bird. And she was right....I am!

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    1. Yes, you most definitely are! It takes a lot of strength to admit that you need help, and I admire you for all that you do to take care of your kids. You will get through this!

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  29. I have been off and on food stamps during different times of my life, like after my divorce for example. Did you know you can buy a birthday cake with FS? You don't have to buy the cake mix! And people complain. But think about it. Cake mix is about 2 bucks. Frosting is about 2 bucks. Sprinkles are about a dollar. A whole cake from the bakery is about $20. If you want to b*tch because someone spent $20 on a birthday cake, rather than buying cake mix you are only fighting with yourself. Why? You only get so much food stamp money per month. When you run out, you run out. They don't just give you more because you chose a bakery cake over cake mix. So if they have to eat hot dogs and mac n cheese every night just so your kid can have his super awesome spider man cake than so be it!!! As for snacks??? Really? Is this really worth an argument? When my daughter was in grade school I packed her lunch and they had snack time in school. Yes, she had juice boxes. She had different things for lunch - one day it was carrots with dip, the next day it was fruit roll ups. So basically just because I was on FS at that particular time I was suppose to ONLY pack carrots and dip every single day no matter what, correct? Did you know a box of donuts is cheaper than ranch dressing? So sometimes when the money is running is low it is "wiser" to "splurge" on fun items. But even so we aren't over weight. I've always cooked healthy meals, packed healthy lunches with a small treat, Food stamps or not I coupon. People should try walking in the shoes of a welfare Mom before judging. You just never how she/he got there. What happened. Or like you said, they could be shopping for their Grandparents or something and here you are making ugly faces.

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    1. I totally agree. Sometimes we have to make that choice between the more nutritious food or the cheaper food that will last longer. I wish that no one ever had to make that choice, but it's the reality of life for many people. Although I am not on food stamps now, I still have to make that choice quite often. And it sucks.

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  30. Thank you for this post! I get a lot of flack from people because I use food stamps. I'm a single mom who works full time and goes to nursing school. I'm a waitress/bartender. People ask me all the time, "Don't you make a lot of money at your job?" Well, occaisionally i have a great night and make $200 in a shift. However, some nights I'm lucky to make $20. I work very hard everyday. One time when i was checking out at the grocery store, the woman behind me voiced her disgust that I was using a WIC voucher and my EBT card. I just told her how happy I was that she never needed to do this because it really does suck. And also to kiss my ass.

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    1. LOL I might have used that same line once or twice, myself. At least you are going to school to make a better life for you and your family - and having to rely on the assistance is a temporary thing. Best of luck to you!

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  31. Or how about before you (general) pass judgement, you keep your nose in your own basket? This whole issue drives me nuts. I dgaf what the lady in front of me is buying and I'm certainly not paying attention to whether that card she is sliding is an EBT or Visa. I don't care and it's NOT MY BUSINESS. And if someday I need assistance and get food stamps, I'd appreciate it if all the "Judgmental Judys" stay out of my wallet and shopping basket too. None of us know anyone's real story (unless they choose to share it) so judging is not only wrong, it's foolish. You know what they say when you ASSume...

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    1. Amen, amen, amen! You are so incredibly right - and thank you for commenting!

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  32. So much of what's already been said fits my situation, but here's one more point I rarely hear mentioned but I know a lot of moms sympathize with: if we were guaranteed equal representation in court and our exes couldn't buy their way out of their obligations by hiring some sharky lawyer, then we would have gotten fair settlements and not need any further assistance.

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    1. Yes that too - and it can go both ways. I know of some single fathers who have gotten totally screwed by the system as well.

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  33. Great Post! Love it! I totally agree...and it's not like we mean to be judgmental I think ...I think it's just what society has done to us to even say that "brand name" clothing is better or what not...what bugs me is when I KNOW they can't afford rent or food but go out and splurge on their food stamps and then turn around and ask to borrow money.

    I've been there ...and sometimes still there...
    I love this post.

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  34. Thank you for this! I have serious nerve and back problems that keep me from working. I have two sons, one with autism and one with severe ADHD that isnt under control even with being on several different medications. I am waiting on SSI for my medical conditions and I do receive food stamps and medicaid for the three of us. Most of our clothes are from goodwill and garage sales. My phone was my moms old one when she got a new one. I color my own hair at home and my nails are press on for the dollar store. My sons Nikes were a gift for a family member. I would much rather work and be able to support my family myself, but consider I cant walk more than a few feet without being in unimaginable pain. I use coupons when I shop, I try to make as much unprocessed stuff as possible but my autistic son has different ideas about eating and there are times that I am just glad to see some kind of food go into his mouth! I do get drink soda but if I was able to get full nights sleep and not have to wait one kid out to go to sleep and then wake a few hours later to put the other one back to sleep after a nightmare and not to mention the painkillers to control the pain that make me sleepy, I wont need to caffiene to stay awake and function. Thank you again!

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    1. You are very welcome! You are in a tough situation and I can totally understand why you have to purchase the things that people might call "crap" - but it all comes down to doing what YOU have to do in order to take care of your family. Thanks for commenting!

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  35. I have 2 boys, 12 and 3. I only receive child support for my oldest son, and it really isn't very much. I have been on Food Stamps since I was a few months pregnant with my youngest and his biological father disappeared. I have been working with the department of child support enforcement to find him and get a paternity test done since my son was born. Finally, my son has had his DNA test done, but his "donor" doesn't have to get his until the end of January. And honestly, once that is done, it will still be another year before I see a dime in child support, oh, and the state will be taking the child support to pay back money they spent on medicaid first, so it may be even longer. My little one will probably be in elementary school before I ever receive a months child support. I am with a wonderful man, who loves my children as his own, but he has had 3 spinal surgeries and can't work more than one job, although he does work doubles in a kitchen 6 days a week. I am a full time student, we have one car, and there is no way I could afford child care right now, so I am staying at home for now although I am dying to go back to work. My phone, laptop, and my son's laptop were all gifts from my family, I live an hour away from home, so the phone is more for their peace of mind than my own. I dread Christmas all year long, and when the holidays are upon me it is equally as heavy as all the Barnum and Baily's elephants at once, especially since my oldest son's father decides that the holidays are for being a pain in the ass and not paying his child support on time from Sept-January every year, knowing there will be no consequences for him unless he doesn't pay for 90 days, then he gets a nasty letter...smh!!! I however, have to jump through endless hoops, having my finances or lack there of, scrutinized every few months, receiving letters telling me that my kids will lose their insurance if I'm late with paperwork, or can't show up in the office when they want me too...and I have no car. I appreciate this blog like I can't even tell you because I am so tired of seeing nastiness on face book about "those people" on food stamps, it angers me in ways that I cannot describe. I didn't ask for this shit, most of us don't, and never wanted this kind of life for our children. Many of us wouldn't be in this situation if it wasn't for some sperm donor that feels like that was supposed to be their only contribution to their children!! When I took my son in for his dna test the woman at the front desk was horrible to me, I don't think that anyone has ever been that rude to me, as if I had 10 men in the waiting room with me that needed to be tested as the possible father of my son!! When I am treated that way, or see awful posts on face book about people receiving assistance it hurts horribly, as if the general consensus is that everyone would be better off if I had not had my son, which I cannot even imagine. Us Moms are doing our job taking care of our children, I am not uneducated, I am not abusing the system, soon I will have a degree but that still doesn't mean that it will be easy to find a job. I applaud you for being such an awesome lady, and I'm so glad that I found this post!! I have spent much time already this season crying and heartbroken about what my kids won't have under the tree, but I know in my heart that we are doing our best right now, and we have each other, that's the most important part :) Thank You <3

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    1. I shouldn't have posted anonymous, my name is Tammy, and I am not at all ashamed of doing what I have to do to be a good parent to my children. Had those that promised they would always be there for their children not been wind bags, I may have never understood how hard things could be, but I will always be grateful, for the good and the bad. As I see my oldest growing up I know I have taught him to be a compassionate soul, for that more than anything I am grateful. He will never be his father, he will always be my boy!!

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    2. Thank you much for sharing your story, Tammy. You have been through the wringer, unfortunately. All I can say is keep doing what you have to do in order to take care of you and your family - the rest will fall into place. It took me a long time to figure that out and to believe it - but I can assure you that it is true!

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  36. I've never been on food stamps...but I should be. We had a car and I wrecked it. The insurance paid me a certain amount for it and my friends felt bad for me so they sold me their car at the same amount that the insurance paid us ...it was way more than i expected ...i just wanted to have a sturdy solid car...except i wasn't expecting to be driving around in a benz....honestly i hate this car....it's been so expensive to maintain.

    we live pay check to pay check and we hardly make it. our friends always ask us to go out but we tell them we can't...and they act like we don't like them....and i just want to tell them it's not that we don't like you it's because we can't afford to go out.

    i've been wearing my clothes that i've had since high school and i shop at thrift stores...or i've been given clothes by friends and family....i'm just lucky they have good taste in clothes.

    i pour water into my soap dispensers so it'll last longer. i try and handmake things so it'll be cheaper. i save all containers because it's cheaper than buying containers at the container store.

    my husband and i eat one chicken breast a meal with veggies and rice to save on cost of meat.

    we share socks because it's cheaper. we shower together to save on the water bill what i mean to say sharing all of this is that we've all been there ....i don't see why we can't look our best or try our best to look normal....when we go out we just want to be accepted and not frowned upon.....even all the things i'm going through i'll still give you the shirt off my back if it would keep you warmer.....i hate how people sneer at you...look at you....judging you....

    i get these eyes....omg look at her and her fancy self...and i think to myself...yeah...if only you knew....some times we'd only have 100 bucks in the bank and wonder if we'll make it to next month...

    my husband only has 7 pairs of under wear and tanks he's had for YEARS but refuses to buy new ones because we need to save....

    it's a lot better now...but i don't think anyone has the right to judge anyone else...what's better is if we could all help each other...like that would ever happen...everyone is too proud....and when you want to find people to help....you don't know who they are because they look just like you....not in rags.

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    1. Times are tough for so many people - I know what you mean about making the clothes last - those boots up there at the top of the blog? I've had them since 1994, and I just took them off a few minutes ago. I still wear them to this day, and haven't bought a new pair since then. We all do what we have to do to survive and to take care of our families and when it comes right down to it, that's the most important thing of all.

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  37. This is so well said. I was a teen parent and spent years struggling as a single mom and I still feel judged, even though those days are long gone and my husband and I have been supporting our family for years. It's hard to ever shake the stares and judgement.

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    1. Thank you, Jessica. And you're right - even though I'm not using food stamps now, I still remember the dirty looks and the rude comments like it happened today. It's awful what some people will say to complete strangers.

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  38. I am literally fist-pumping and jumping up and down in my seat reading this blog post! I have been getting really defensive with facebook especially and the ignorant people posting rude comments about how people on food stamps shouldn't have nice things or look well-dressed. You just totally hit the nail on the head for me with what I've been wanting to tell my "friends" when they post that shit! So, THANK YOU! :)

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    1. You're welcome! I'm glad that you liked it - and feel free to share it. I don't normally say that, but this post seems to have hit home with a lot of people and I think that it is an important message. Thank YOU!

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  39. I do not have time to read all of these comments but I would say this even if someone else already has. I have never been on food stamps as an adult but grew up on SSI from a father who had been nearly killed in an accident. The amount of pride I would currently have to swallow to even think about going on to foodstamps would porbably ben more than I could handle so I will do all in my power to never have to. However, if I did, I would use coupons to make the food stamps stretch. I have NEVER in my life seen a person on food stamps pull out a coupon in the line in front of me. I think people should have to learn how to use coupons successfully if they are going to be issued food stamps.
    That is all I have to say.

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    1. I coupon like crazy, shop the sales ads for buy one, get one offers every time I grocery shop, and buy meat that has been discounted whenever I can, and yes, I do get foodstamps to help feed my two children whose fathers do very little if anything for them. I think everyone should use coupons if they can, saving money is important for all of us. With an almost teenage boy and a toddler I wouldn't be able to make the money I get to feed them last if I didn't, and it still is a pretty common occurrence for me to spend child support (when I get it) on milk, juice, lunchmeat, and bread because I have run out of food stamps for the month. We aren't given silver platters for our children to eat off of, it's not so much money that we eat steak for dinner every night. As others have commented, eating processed crap is cheaper than good food, but most of our meals are made from scratch which requires careful planning and can often cost more than a box of ramen noodles. I hope that after this phase in my life is over that I don't ever forget the amount of pride I had to swallow to walk into social services and admit I had nothing, it's humiliating every time I walk through those doors, but if it is the difference between my children having food to eat, I would do it every day if I had to!

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    2. I coupon too, and do all the sales that I can.. I remember the first time I had to go into the department of human services.. and sit in front of a rather awful woman, and explain that YES, I have a job, but NO, I can't provide well for my children, I need help.. I burst into tears as I explained to the woman that I didn't even have enough money to buy myself new underwear... but like you, I would do it everyday if I had to, to make sure my kids get what they need.

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    3. Admitting that the help is needed is so incredibly difficult. I tried and tried to avoid it at the time, but the truth was that I just couldn't do it on my own. And I hated that - I felt like a total failure. But sometimes we have to do it - and personally I feel that asking for help shows an amazing amount of strength, just not in the way that it is typically shown.

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  40. I'm on food stamps and have medical assistance for my kids and I'm not proud that I have tangible proof that I can't take care of my little family by myself, but I'm grateful every day that it's available to me.
    I'm a single mom, two kids, haven't gotten any child support ever, and have somehow managed to scrimp and struggle through the last 12 years, but decided to go back to school this year and went on FS, childcare assistance and medical assistance. I actually had a co-worker who I thought was a very nice, considerate person pull me aside and very snidely tell me that "she" would never stoop so low as to have to go on food stamps. My own family is "ashamed" that I'm "taking charity" even though my parents and my aunts and uncles all make well over 6 figures and have NEVER offered to help when they saw me struggling.

    The way I see it, I worked my butt off for the last 15 years and I'm actually using the system in the way that it is intended to be used: temporarily, while I'm making a better life for myself and my kids. I've never had anyone actually say anything to me when I paid using my ebt card, but I have noticed the clerks often search the receipt for the "remaining f/s balance", which is horribly uncomfortable for me. Of course, I've only been using if for a few months, so i'm sure there's plenty of opportunity for degrading to come. I do buy pop-tarts, soda, snacks, etc. Basically, I get the exact same groceries that I did before I had food stamps. That's the goal, right? That you can maintain your prior level of food intake?
    And anything that I want to get for my kids that is classified as "food" will be paid for with "your taxes", so thank you, tax payers of America! (Which also includes me, ironically) That cheesecake that I bought at Sam's Club was delish!

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    1. "I'm not proud that I have tangible proof that I can't take care of my little family by myself"

      That, right there, is what so many people don't "get". People who have never had to get assistance don't always understand just how humiliating it can be. I hated every minute of it, but I did what I had to do to make sure that my kids were fed.

      Delete
    2. I'm a little late here.. just been going through your blog. I'm from Canada, so I've never been on food stamps exactly. It's more welfare than anything, and instead of a card.. we get money direct deposited into our account. I'd say it definitely helps stave off the judgement. It's no one's business if you're getting assistance. That said.. when I left my ex husband, I had picked up some forms to apply for assistance... aaand I couldn't do it. I broke down while trying to fill them out. I felt like one of those 'welfare bums' everyone spoke so poorly of. I wound up going back to my ex. I have children with him, and wouldn't be able to support them without him.. or without help.

      I'm doing better now though. I finally left my ex husband too, and he's paying child support. Thank God those days are over!

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  41. A long time ago I needed food stamps. I had a lot of bills left over from my divorce and had current bills. i was driving a used car, living in a very small house located not in the best neighborhood and I had a good salary from my job but it wasn't enough. Unfortunately I was denied the help I needed, I made to much money by their calculations because they base it on you pay before they take out the taxes and they don't take into account your bills. I fell through the cracks in the system. I eventually made it out but it was hard, food stamps would have helped get me out of the hole sooner and I would have had a guaranteed amount of funds dedicated towards food instead of having to pick and choose which bills to pay $5 to ensure i had food money for me and my kids.

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    1. That is always so hard - I mean, I get why they go pre-tax, but at the same time when they go off of your gross income it makes it look like you have so much more money than you actually do. And you're right - it doesn't matter what other bills you have, because they only look at your income and not what you have left. i'm so glad to hear that you made it out and that you are doing better now. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

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  42. My story goes a little something like most of yours, I busted my ass for well over ten years with my daughter, got pregnant with my son, lost my job while on maternity leave, I chose to apply for unemployment benefits, hell I deserved it, yes, I was a single mom, and never complain about my kids dad's not being there, my kids will be fine without them anyway. Yes it's hard, but I now pinch pennies to stay home to raise my kids, for as long as I can. The way this world is, they need me a whole lot more than we need expensive shit. My daughter has improved her grades, she was barely passing by, now she is an honor roll student. I go without nice clothes so that my kids can have nice stuff, and so they can have a chance to be someone some day. It may sound off the wall to some, but that's what is important to me. They know we can't afford what everyone else has, but they understand. We spend so much time together that the rest doesn't matter. My children appreciate everything they get, no matter the cost or name brand. And that makes me overflow with joy, because not all kids are like that. They love to help others, so I feel like I am giving the world a gift by sacrificing to allow my kids to grow up to be good hearted, caring people. Thank you for sharing this, it says a lot of things everyone in this world needed to hear.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story! My kids are the same way, for the most part. They know that we just don't have a lot of extra money and usually they're ok with it. But every now and then they get a bit snarky about it and it makes me feel terrible. It was considerably easier when I was receiving food stamps because I knew that I always had that money for food and I had more spending money for the other stuff - but now we really have to watch every single penny. But the kids DO appreciate the little things much more than some of their friends do, and that makes me happy.

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  43. Thank you for this post. This was very timely.

    I've been on both WIC and Food Stamps since I've had my kids. I never wanted to be, but my husband has endured one factory closing and two layoffs in addition to that. He finally went back to school and I basically supported the family on a part-time school associate's hours until I got laid off. He has a good job now that he has graduated. We no longer qualify for assistance, but are trying to climb out of the hole that all of that time off of work plus student loans has created. I'm still unemployed, and I have a degree. I don't judge, because I've always lived by the idea that you can't judge someone until you've watched a mile in their shoes.

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    1. Sometimes I think that people think that just because someone gets food stamps, they are living high on the hog - and that is generally not true. Yes, our food might be taken care of, but all of the food stamps in the world won't keep the electricity on to keep that food in the fridge cold, and it certainly won't fill the gas tank to get anyone to work. Food stamps HELP - but they don't solve problems.

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  44. How about the government bailout that helped the auto & banking industries in their time of need, despite them being multi-billion dollar industries!? THAT TOO, is welfare, but no one is looking at those imbeciles as freeloaders! Their financial crisis was no one's fault but their own! The fact of the matter is, the definition of "welfare" needs to be clarified for those judgemental idiots: "welfare" is ANY and ALL financial assistance from the government, including grants to start businesses, go to school, buy a home, food or whatever other government policies allow for (what equates to) monetary help. Would the CEO of CitiGroup be considered a "welfare-king" considering he gladly accepted the government bailout "welfare" check? Would those tumors over at AIG be considered "welfare-abusers" considering they took the government bailout "welfare" check and went on ski trips!?
    The dishonesty with regards to what welfare is and isn't, who utilizes it and who doesn't, and what that person's station in life should or shouldn't be is preposterous! I live in NYC, and Hurricane Sandy just shut-up millions of people who I am sure had that same ignorant perspective the day before she touched down! Now, they can't wait for their FEMA "welfare" check to help them with the nothing they've been left with post-natural disater.
    Most people at some point in their lives will need government assistance, or "welfare" for a plethora of reasons, and those fortunate enough to never experience that need to count each and EVERY blessing they have! I sorely need food stamps because I am a single parent taking care of a fast growing 12 year old young man ALL by myself! I have been denied several times because I chose to better myself by obtaining a cosmetology license which allows me to be paid more than my fellow cosmetics counter peers. That doesn't mean I'm able to make ends meet. Thank God for my family, because I don't know where we'd be without them. Bollocks to judgemental morons who have SO MUCH, they'll never be able to fully appreciate how good they have it!

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    1. Very, very well said! I can't even add anything to it, except for thank you so much for commenting!

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  45. One time I was shopping, I had a full cart, as did the woman in front of me... we both had our carts full..we also were both holding "smart" phones, She was clearly preparing for a party of some sort for a child from the looks of it, she checked out using her bridge card, the cashier said NOTHING to her.. I unloaded my cart, the woman in front of me finished and left and the cashier immediately went on a tirade of how she couldnt believe that someone on welfare could just waste all that money that SHE made for her, blah blah.. its disgraceful.. blah blah.. kids probably dont have the same daddies (note: she had NO kids with her at the time of shopping) and how dare she be on welfare getting supported by the state while having her nails done and that smart phone out flashing for everyone to see that she don't need the welfare, she's just a mooch and all that is wrong with society.. all this while she's ringing up my order.. and I keep not saying anything.. until.. she tells me my total.. and I whip out my very own .. yep.. bridge card. at which point the cashier totally starts backpeddling, how she didnt mean EVERYONE on welfare was a mooch and a user, blah blah.. back peddle... I looked her in the eye and said "you don't know that womans story. and you don't know mine. You are rude and judgemental and all that is wrong with society." the look on her face: PRICELESS.. the look on her managers face... pissed.. Im gonna go out on a limb and guess that her boss doesn't share that cashiers particular opinion.

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    1. Oh my wow - what I wouldn't give to have been able to witness that! I am so glad that you had the nerve to stand up to that cashier, and hopefully she learned her lesson. I hope that she was a bit more kind to the next person using an EBT card - assuming that she still had a job. Thank you!

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  46. I used food stamps for about a year. It took both mine and my husband's salary to live and when I was put on bedrest d/t complications during pregnancy, the leave was 'too long' by FMLA standards and I lost my job and the partial checks coming in. My husband took up a second part time job and we still never had enough.. so food stamps it was. Never underestimate the relief that your groceries are covered. When my daughter was 6 months old I found my job I am at now (almost 4 years later, and I haven't had to depend on them since. I agree just using them because you are too lazy to work is WRONG. (DHS has discounted or free daycare for people who qualify). Food stamps should be short term. I even had an employee at my work turn down a promotion and a full time status because she would lose her benifits! WTF!!?? I work hard and took those promotions. I guess that is why you live in a rental house that is run down and my husband and I bought our first home 3 years ago... (okay I am done venting)

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    1. I totally agree with you - I have never understood why people choose to live off of the system when they don't have to, although I have to admit that sometimes the system makes it hard to do otherwise. It's hard to get out of it, depending on your situation. I'm glad to hear that you were able to get through it.

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    2. First off thank you...I have shared this post on my personal FB page many times. That having been said, I follow your blog and FB page so I know you are not the type to intentionally judge another unfairly, however, unless I misunderstood what you wrote....I must point out that the above comment and reply could be construed as judgemental to a reader like myself which I am positive is not what either of you intended when writing it.

      You wrote:
      "My point is this: Unless you personally know the individual using the card, and you know for a fact that he/she is abusing the system, keep your judgments to yourself. Some people are lucky enough to never need assistance to get out of a tough situation in their lives - and some of us aren't that lucky. Sometimes we need help. It happens. Every person has a story, every person is different, and every person has a right to live his/her life without being judged by total strangers."

      While I do agree with Y'all that assisstance should be a short-term, til ya get on your feet thing...Please do not take this as a personal attack(I follow you here and on facebook so I know you are not that type of person), but the comment by Anonymous and your reply to it could be percieved as (completely unintentional) judgementa/hurtful of this co-worker or others who, like her have had to turn down just such an opportunity and I know you would certainly NEVER want to inadvertantly judge a reader in this exact position...but how do you know that if said co-worker HAD taken the promotion/ full-time status; that certain benefits for her disabled child/parent or other family member that she has guardianship of may be cut? How would she then be able to afford the in-home caregiver she must pay to care for that person or the co-pays for the prescriptions or the therapies not covered completely by their insurance??? Before judging shouldn't we all take a minute to say to ourselve...we dont know what her story is??

      I love this sentance...
      " Every person has a story, every person is different, and every person has a right to live his/her life without being judged by total strangers."

      After reading this post I had cross-stitched this line and framed it to hang in my home so as guests enter It is the first thing guests see.

      Sorry to be a Debbie Downer here....but I was reading thru the comments and it just seemed to contradict the post's intent. andI immediately thought AWW H-E-double hockey sticks NO....cuz unless you had a major personality transplant it seemed out of character for you.

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    3. I totally get where you are coming from and I had to go back and re-read everything just to make sure.

      When the above person wrote "I even had an employee at my work turn down a promotion and a full time status because she would lose her benifits!" I got the impression that it was a single individual - not a person who was taking care of his/her family as you had indicated. I do understand that there are times when a person has to look out for others in the family before losing benefits - and that I *DO* understand. But from the way that the comment was worded, I got the impression that this was not the case and it was just someone 'living off of the system'. I hope that makes more sense.

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  47. Yes, all those things are possible. But, really? How about the people who go into the grocery store to purchase ONE GRAPE and ask for their change in cash? Exactly where do you think those people are going with that money?
    When you ask the government to take MY money so that they can give it away to somebody else, you'd better be pretty darn sure that you're spending it wisely. Since you were a case worker, I'm sure you know that rarely happens.

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    1. I only have a split second, but I wanted to respond to this one really quick.

      I don't know about all states, but I believe that the majority if not all states now have food stamps processed electronically. They are on a debit card, and you CAN NOT get cash back. When the food is scanned, it goes against the balance on the card. The card and the register "work together" and the card will NOT pay for anything that is not food.

      Now, at the same time, if the person also gets cash assistance - that cash is on the same card, but in a different account. What generally happens is the person swipes the card once to pay for the food, and then swipes it a second time to take money out of the cash assistance account to pay for the non-food. The cash assistance money can be used for anything, as it is also available at any ATM. The money that is designated for food stamps however, can NOT be used for anything but food.

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  48. Food Stamps should be for people who would go hungry without them. Period.

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    1. Theoretically, that's the way that they're designed - people shouldn't have to make the choice between paying rent and buying food.

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  49. I have never had to stand in line while others judge what is in my cart/ I have never had to endure dirty looks or comments said almost, but not under their breath. But I have seen plenty of it. No one, no one has the right to judge another's choices in this life. I do not know what the have had to go through. I have seen the person in front of me look all around before pulling out their card. Thank God they got rid of the checks that they used to have to use. If there is anything the poor of our country deserve it is a break. Give then a smile. Say a kind word and move along. If someone wants to cast aspersions, tell them to start with their own life. Examine where they are and leave others alone. Thank you for writing this. It so needs to be said.

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting. I agree with you - people who judge need to make sure that they are 100% perfect before they decide that someone else is not. I do appreciate the comment.

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  50. You are wrong. When you ask me to pay for your food, that gives me the right to judge whether I think it is right or wrong. Pay for your own food and I will leave you alone. I'm not against feeding the hungry. I'm against using the power of government to take from one to give to another, wasting large portions of it in the process.

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    1. No, I am not wrong just as I am not going to accuse you of being wrong. We have differing viewpoints, and that's perfectly ok.

      If you feel that it is your right to judge the person in front of you for using food stamps, is your opinion going to change if you find out that the person is a home healthcare provider getting groceries for a terminally ill patient? Or that the woman was just beaten up by her husband and had to leave her house with nothing but the clothes on her back?

      Has every single decision that you have made in your entire life been perfect, with absolutely no negative ramifications whatsoever? Because if that's the case, you need to write a book about it so that others can learn the same tricks. Seriously.

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  51. You know what grinds my gears, when people want to claim that Government intervention via foodstamps gives someone the right to judge. If you're going to judge someone or something because of the way the money's handled, look to the entity packed full of the problems, not to some poor family just looking for a belly that doesn't grumble before bedtime.
    Do you have any idea the fraction of the debt freaking foodstamps are? These our are neighbors, friends and family, if government is going to use force, and it is force, to take money from me to give to others, I'd much rather it be for a divorcee, with a deadbeat ex, to feed her kids.
    You want to focus on some welfare that deserves some raised eyebrows, murmurs and outright judgement? How about the military industrial complex or other corporate welfare? Why am I concerned about the possibility of a welfare queen (which I happen to find endlessly irritating, even infuriating at times) when GE paid no taxes? Why would I waste a sliver of my energy trying to stop welfare fraud, when Goldman Sachs received a bailout and then pumped billions of dollars into both Romney and Obama's campaign's?!
    I thought long and hard about whether or not I was going to say anything, but frankly, the idea that anyone is going to pass judgement on someone, just because they whipped out a EBT card, pushes a button for me. Considering the TRILLIONS that's saddled on the future generations, perhaps you might want to reconsider such a position, because we may very well all have to look for an EBT card to eat... if there'll be one to have.
    Pass judgement on that.

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    1. I can't even add anything to this babe, but that shouldn't be a surprise considering how much we've talked about this. However, I do think that EVERYONE has bigger things to worry about other than what the customer in line in front of them has in his/her cart and what kind of currency is being used to pay for it.

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    2. These discussions always get out of hand when we fail to define what we are discussing.
      1. Do I think it is right to judge the person in line in front of me without having all the facts? No.
      2. Do I think it is right for the government to confiscate my money to give to others? Only if it is a genuine humanitarian need and it can be proven to be more efficient that doing through the private sector. Good luck on that one.
      3. Do I think I have the right to protest when I see an obvious abuse of the system? Yes.
      4. Do I think that anybody who disagrees with 1,2, or 3 is a whacked out, wild-eyed socialist? Yes.

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  52. I want to tell you how much I like this post. When my son was born, I hadn't been able to work for 6 months because of the pregnancy and my ex and I had already maxed out the credit cards we had to get ready for our son and I was on food stamps and medicaid.
    I hated using the EBT card because I knew people would look at me and say things to me about using it. Even if all I was buying was formula and veggies, I was still using that card and wasn't "good enough" for them in "their" grocery store. I felt like I had to hide the card.
    Just know that I understand and agree!

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  53. I'm a little late on this one.
    Love this post.
    Been there!

    And, I have learned NEVER to judge ANYONE because of it.
    Foodstamps and WIC and Welfare... is a wonderful tool when you need it. And the people who really need REALLY appreciate it.

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    1. Thanks! It definitely saved my butt a time or two!

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  54. Also, just because you have an acceptable car or smart phone or some other nice thing doesn't mean you didn't buy it when your means were secure. A lot of decade-old cars look just fine now. They don't rust out like they did when I was a kid, or even when I was trying to start my career. So maybe that "nicer car than mine" is a relic of a better age. I've been there, where I had $15/week to feed myself and my car... and borrowing my beautiful, good-driving, NEARLY PAID FOR used car was a "sacred trust." Sure, I could have gotten a cheap beater, but it would have cost me more in maintenance and lost wages than the year of payments I had left on the good one.

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    1. Exactly!!! Thank you for coming by and for commenting!

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  55. I will say, I'm not a parent. However, I am on food stamps. I have a psychiatric disability that prevents me from being able to work full-time. My husband has been out of work for over a year due to not only the economy, but a back injury, AND his own mental health problems. We get maybe $900 a month in actual money, his current income and my SSDI checks combined, which his income will run out next month, leaving us with $750 a month. $675 of that goes to rent alone. We get $250 in food stamps, a month, for two people. Most of the time, that's gone by the middle of the month, because food is not cheap. ESPECIALLY around here. And eating healthy? Forget it. We don't go out to eat. The last time I bought actual clothes at all was at least 6 months ago, and the only reason I got a new pair of shoes this past week was because I managed to find some decent ones in the clearance section of the shoe store. His cell phone is one of those pre-paid Net10 phones, which is basically a knock-off Blackberry, and he pays $20 a month for 200 minutes. Our internet is us paying $40 a month on someone else's cable bill so we can have access to a shitty wireless signal, which we don't even get much of. And these computers we have, are 3 years old, and were bought with tax returns when my husband was still able to work. Most of the rest of our money goes to feeding and caring for our 2 cats (because frankly, they are better off here than a shelter), and other necessities (laundry, soap, toilet paper [can't buy those with food stamps]). On top of that, paying for transit, either bus or cab when we actually have the money, for things such as doctors and dealing with all the things to be able to get and keep assistance. And I get those looks. They think "Oh, she's a young fat chick who looks different using a food stamp card, she must be a druggy," and it's even worse when they see the necklace that I have been wearing daily for the past 10 years (I bought it with my first ever tax returns, and I am not pawning it off just to appease these asshats, and it just so happens to be a Hatchetman, which people, for some reason or another, associate with gang activity). I'm so sorry I don't look like someone who should need the help. I'm sorry my disability isn't readily visible to people. Do I need to start wearing a big red patch that says "I HAVE PTSD" just to make people happy? I'm sorry, but screw off.

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  56. Thank you for reposting the link to this. I don't even have my card yet and I'm getting the judgements. I was filling out a form in my breakroom at work for stamps and got "the looks". I'm waiting for my food stamps to get approved after jumping through one hoop after another cause shockingly I have a job. Its taken a month 5 check stubs 2 visits and a form from my employer. Yeah a month so guess what I've been eating ramen noodles for a month. I could go to a food bank but can't because I work 12 hour shifts starting well before they open and ending well after they close. I look forward greatly to holding that blessed card in my hand. I also have a brand new car and smart phone.. all of which I got recently before my soon to be ex husband kicked me and my kids out of our family home to move in his new shiny girlfriend. So tired of the judgemental crap. Nice to see someone or a lot of someone's understand.

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  57. I literally *just* stumbled onto your page by accident, and I *love* this post.

    I don't live in the States. I'm Canadian, I live in rural Newfoundland.

    We don't have food stamps, but we do have social assistance - in other words, welfare. I'd like to share a bit about my story, if I may....

    I am currently on SA. I have a car. I have a smart phone. I got my car while I was working, and upgraded my phone then, as well.

    Do you have any idea how demoralizing it is to have to depend on your parents so that you don't default on the car payments, to give you a place to live -at 30?

    I don't like being on SA. I'd rather be working. Getting a job is damn near impossible for me, because potential employers see my disability, and not what I can do. I hate not being able to afford things. I hate being judged by social workers, being told that the bills that I do have aren't "vital"...

    I could keep going, but I think it may turn into a blog post of my own...

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  58. I am on Food Stamps, my son is on WIC and Medicaid. I work full time and get benefits for me and my husband, but bring home less than $300 a week. Both of us have college degrees, but there is no job market for us (the only places hiring are retail). I've been employed for almost 16 years, I've paid taxes since I was 16.

    I don't have a smart phone, the only reason we live in a house and not the streets is because my father-in-law DIED and we got the house, and his cars. We pay our utilities out of a fund provided for the expense, and use the left over money to desperately try to pay off our $70K student loans. With means we have ZERO saving for our retirement. Which means I'll be working well into my 80's.

    I don't even have a purse. I don't go see movies, or even see my friends. My husband's uncle pays for our internet so we can send him photos of our son.

    My own family, blood relations don't help me. So I had to get help myself. So we wouldn't starve. Or be homeless. I'm not happy that I rely on government assistance, but I'm sure glad I have it. When I don't need it anymore, I'll be happy to walk back in that office and turn in the cancellation forms with a smile.

    Until then, whoever judges me (AKA my customers at work who see me pay for my lunch/groceries with Food Stamps) can kiss my grits.

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  59. This is such a great post. I have not been in a situation where I've needed the extra support, however I have family and friends who have. A good friend was left high and dry when her hubby thought it would be fun to leave her and the kids to go have a fling with an old high school flame. Long story short, she ended up needing assistance--food stamps and medical for the kids.

    I was absolutely infuriated when her new boyfriend (several months later) posted something on facebook along the lines of the pic featured here. His girlfriend / my friend was EXACTLY the person described here ... and he was mocking the system that enabled her to be able to feed her kids and keep them healthy. Apparently, he falls into the category of so many of the asshats who spew this garbage--"if it hasn't happened to me, then it's not valid." Makes me sick ... the lack of compassion paired with the holier than thou judgement.

    Thanks for posting this. Maybe even just one person will see this issue through a different set of eyes!! Kudos to you and everyone who has commented sharing their personal story.

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  60. You can get a food stamps skins to personalize your ebt card so it doesn't look like an obvious snap benefit card and protect your privacy. The website www.foodstampscovers.com Hope this help!

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    1. Yes, but the grocery store that is closest to my house requires you to tell the casheir before you swipe your cars that it is an EBT card, and then the cashier inevitably mumbles "oh, Food Stamps!" while keying in whatever it is that they do before you can swipe the card.

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  61. I was a college student with a severe eating disorder, and when my case management team realized that I would never be able to afford the expensive meal plans that were part of my treatment they assisted me in getting approved for $67 per month in food support. It was terrifying for me to even be in a grocery looking at food, that I was supposed to eat, but deep down I knew that I was on a path leading to death by starvation, so I went along with the program. So imagine my humiliation and terror when, after my first attempt to buy groceries with my newly minted EBT card in the local market (akin to Whole Foods), a man followed me to the door, tapped me on the shoulder, and sneered, "You're welcome!" before looking at me expectantly. I kind of frowned at him suspiciously (being an anorexic college-age woman I was naturally wary of strange men approaching me in public) so he added "For your food. I'm a hard-working taxpayer so my tax dollars paid for your food stamps!" He waited for me to say something but I was speechless, so he just walked out to his car. I felt like that encounter was the Universe's way of telling me that I was on the wrong track, that I was NOT supposed to eat, so I returned the groceries, through the EBT card away, and took several more years on my road to recovery. I am now normal-weight with an amazing job and benefits, after YEARS of hard work recovering from the eating disorder and other co-morbid issues, but I have NEVER forgotten how that man treated me that day. And being a skinny (at the time), white, articulate college student I can only imagine how that man and others might have treated someone who more fully fit stereotype of poverty...

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    1. ((((((((((((hugs))))))))))) from one gracie to another. i know people who would say things like this. oooooh if there were a way to go back in time and slap the taste out of their mouths!

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I have only two rules - don't reveal anyone's personal information, and be respectful. It's not difficult, honest. Now, go on and play.