The Real Faces of Food Stamps

I went to go find an example for a foodstamp meme for my post only to feel sick to my stomach. We’ve all seen them on our feeds. Memes that shame people that are on food stamps and help perpetuate the idea that all food stamp recipients are lazy, entitled people who own iphones and drive BMWs. While there are people who are just living off the government and refusing to work, statitistics show they are rare( around 2 %). Who is the face of food stamps? Probably not who you would like to acknowledge. The family of five where both parents are working hard but one of them has their hours cut, or gets sick with cancer, or has to take off work for sick kids. The single mama who finds herself abandoned with a small child who is sick all the time and can’t work if she wants to care for sick child. (that sick child was me 35 years ago)
The soldier who comes home and has a hard time readjusting and finding and keeping a job? Those are the faces of foodstamps. People who are working or want to work. People who feel shame and embarrassment at having to apply for free school lunches. Having to endure people’s scorn in the store if they purchase anything beyond rice and beans. And they better darn well not have ANYTHING nice-ish or they will be accused of milking the system.

Have you ever watched your cupboard get so empty that you wondered how to stretch the last little bit between your children so they won’t starve? Have you ever had to eat less than the rest of the family or skip meals so that they wouldn’t go hungry? Have you ever gotten to the end of the month and known that either you had to skip payment on an important bill or go hungry? Have you ever sent your children to school with empty stomach’s because there simply wasn’t enough food for them to eat?

I have been in a few of those situations, throughout the years. I have been the face of food stamps. It was either that or my babies would go hungry. Even on foodstamps, if I wanted to make the food last all month, I had to budget like crazy because they are there to provide help not gourmet meals for 30 days.

If you have not ever experienced these things? Maybe it is easy for you to shame and make fun of and judge those that have been on it. But I have cried over facebook posts that my friends, my church family, my family has posted. Because I know that  most of the food stamp recipients are just looking for a little help to keep their family from suffering from hunger. And I believe NO child in this country in this day and age should ever have to go hungry!

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