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"Murphy was an optimist!"

How do the poor eat? October 18, 2006 11:50 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life
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I had an experience a week or so ago. I was at the self-serve checkout of Food City. The person beside me rang her groceries, then swiped her card. The volume on the machine seemed to dramatically increase as the electronic voice chimed loudly, "Welcome EBT customer!" You know. The machine didn’t say, "Welcome, Visa debit card customer to me." Next it beeped then loudly exclaimed, "No qualifying items for food stamps." Something went wrong and she had to run the card again and again. The machine must have given its "welcome ebt customer" message a half a dozen times. The machine seemd to want to punish her for using food stamps by drawing attention to her method of payment. How cruel!

food stamp card

If you have never seen food stamps they are no longer perferated sheets of green stamps. In modern times, it is a credit card with the picture of an American flag on it. Watch for it as you shop. I would guess that about every 4th person in the line is using one.

Noah and I were selling popcorn for the Boy Scouts this past weekend and a college age girl giddily hopped by and struck up conversation with Noah. When he finally tried to close the sale and asked if she wanted to buy popcorn, she held up her red, white and blue card and said, "not unless you take food stamps" then bounced off into the store.

So, as I watch our pantry slowly empty, I begin to wish I had one of these cards. The irony is that we don’t even qualify for reduced lunches at school! Something seems amiss.

As you go the polls to deliberate over whether or not we should legislate who is allowed to love whom, perhaps you should ask how many people could have been fed by the money spent lobbying on such an irrelevant and stupid law. Perhaps our political leaders should be asking, "why 17.2 million people a month are on food stamps?" and would it be better to apply legislation preventing the banks and credit card companies from profitting on the poor because they bounced a check trying to feed their family instead of declaring two people in love can’t marry? Which situation is more threatening to America?

Already, a political action committee funded by a wealthy activist in Bolder, Colorado has given $25,000 to our opposition. [Source]

Do you have any idea what a difference $25,000 would make in the quality of my life? It would be the difference between struggling for the coming decades and being in a position to help others in that same time period!

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1. AT - October 18, 2006

Yeah, but the nasty irony, Doug, is that the only people who ever think about this are down on their luck. Yeah, this is a state full of poor people. Hell, I still have an EBT card in my wallet (hasn’t worked for a few months. I think we might be eligible again, but it is such an ENORMOUS pain in the ass to get benefits that its not worth the trouble).
Dude, I completely hate to see you down on your like, but like I was telling Lissa, I’m there with you. In fact, this is our 10th year of living lean, so I don’t really know much of another way of life anymore.
I think you’re doing the right thing going for the corporate paycheck, as much as I hate saying it. And I do hate saying it, because the corporate IT world is pure suck.
However, you’ll end up doing less work for more money, and of that I’m positive. With your skills, additionally, you probably won’t have to deal with a bunch of crap.

You’ll make it. Breathe in and breathe out. Think of that dumb cat with the claws on the treebranch.

If nothing else, we’ve always considered selling a kid if we needed to.

2. djuggler - October 18, 2006

We keep selling children to the gypsies and they keep giving them back.

3. Stormare Mackee - October 18, 2006

I’ve been of the opinion that in America, nobody who’s willing to work has to be poor. Six years of Bushite governance has proved me wrong. Honest, hard-working people are dropping off of middle class to a cycle of poverty like flies. More jobs are being created, but the median wage is going down, down, down. Are 200,000 minimum wage service sector McJobs replacing 100,000 well-paying manufacturing jobs a sign of economic expansion? Economists tout “productivity”, which means producing corporate profits with fewer and fewer people, and more and more people working longer and longer hours with less and less pay. We’re paying half a TRILLION dollars for rebuilding Iraq, while our own people, here in the U.S. of A. are going hungry and homeless.

AT, you’re closer to the truth than you know. I’m a foster parent, and as sad as it is, I know that when a child is taken to state custody, the parents all of a sudden get all kinds of services (free housing, free transportation, free medical care). It costs the state of Tennessee on average $40,000 per year per child in foster care. How much better would many of those parents be if they could get that amount in direct poverty relief?

4. Reality Me » Answer to How do the poor eat? - October 18, 2006

[…] I seem to have forgotten part of my post on "How do the poor eat?" There are many ways. One is FISH. By calling 865-523-7900 you are automatically directed to a participating organization (typically a church). FISH only asks the number of adults and the number of children in your household. They ask nothing of your situation. They like it when you can pickup but they will deliver. What do they deliver? One to three days worth of food and some dry goods such as soap. […]


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