Imagine, hating the grocery store. Hating the looks you’ll know you’ll get. Hating the snide comments from those behind you. The cold glares. The change in demeanor once they see your debit card isn’t really a debit card.
“She has too many children”
“Maybe if she didn’t have that expensive purse, nice shoes, etc”
“She should just get a job”
and on it goes.
I NEVER thought I’d be on the receiving end of these comments. Confession: We used to use WIC – briefly – I was told by a cashier when I had a few extra dollars and bought a cross stitch magazine that I shouldn’t be allowed to buy stuff like that if I had to use WIC.
WIC is totally different than what I face now.
I purposely seek out stores that have self check out or chose a line that looks like I can get in and out quickly.
I’ve had a cashier be so friendly then when I bring out our food assistance card, commonly called Food Stamps, she then ignored me and began a conversation with a bagger, letting me know I was no longer worth her time.
I’ve seen many a meme going around about how terrible it is that we abuse the system, there should be drug testing because all food assistance people are using drugs or selling their benefits for drugs, or what have you.
I understand there are many who do use the system, who abuse it and who may use drugs and so on. I am not that person, not all of us are.
I’ve been asked by fellow Christians, “doesn’t your church help you?” or put another way “Christians shouldn’t use food stamps, go to your church.” Really? I love our church – they are great, godly people but we are also small – very small and most are elderly and on fixed incomes, how is my church to provide food for 4 people, 3 of those VERY hungry children who eat a lot? I agree churches should do as the Bible (and God) says to help the widows and fatherless. Our church has and is supporting us but they simply can’t support us financially – I don’t see where in the Bible that the Lord said it had to be financially.
That said – and I’m going to be honest here, we get a measly $169 a month in food benefits. 4 people – $169 a month. I get the same amount of food benefits as a single person with no children. We spend that a WEEK. My son alone could probably eat that much a week on his own, if I let him, and never gain a pound! Trust me we are not rolling in the money here with what we get in food assistance. I will not divulge what I get in survivors benefits – I will tell you our yearly income has been cut in half, maybe even more if I took the time to figure it what hubby used to bring home to what we get in benefits.
Out of our monthly survivor benefits I have to pay our utilities, clothing, shoes, curricula, needed repairs, gas for the car, vehicle repairs, and anything else that comes up and food.
The donations that were given to us are being kept safe and not being used unless I absolutely need them. If you feel led to donate there are instructions on how to do so on the right side of my blog, and thank you if you do donate. I know there will be months that something comes up and there is zero money left. I’m so appreciative of the friends and family who have given generously to us – it will help in these months of trying to figure everything out.
Now to answer some of those comments I mentioned above:
1. I have three children. 3. That isn’t 10 or 20. 3. I cannot have anymore children because I no longer have a husband, to infer that the reason I’m on food assistance because I have too many children is ridiculous and hurtful. If Don was still here we’d welcome more children, but I’m not one of those women who is on food assistance because my children’s dad has walked out and abandoned us, I’m not on F.A. because I’m having more children just to get benefits. Unfortunately, many cashiers and the people in line behind me only see a woman with three (too many) children using food stamps, which they mistakenly believe I’ve never worked.
2. Something else people don’t consider is that maybe that purse I got for free by simply holding a Thirty-One party and I paid $0. Maybe my nice shoes were a gift from my mom. My clothes are nice because they were bought before hubby passed and I’m not hard on them. Just because what is on my body doesn’t mean I’m abusing the system. Should I and my children, because I’m on food assistance, be wearing dirty, ragged clothing? Then there will be those who claim I can’t care for my children and should therefor not be allowed to have them anymore. it’s a vicious cycle, one that I can’t win.
3. I do have a job – it’s called being a homemaker. I worked, I had several jobs ever since I could work, I’ve worked. I’ve paid into the system everyone wants to say I haven’t. My husband worked and paid into the system. My job right now is to be a mom to my children and continue to educate them at home, as my husband told me was his desire should anything ever happen to him. By the way, for those who may want to still further say something – I’m an United States Navy veteran – yep at one time I was protecting you and your ‘right’ to say these things about my children and I.
I’m writing this, not to point fingers at any one person, I’ve been there. I’ve been the cashier looking down on that mom in my line. I’ve been the person behind her (or him) thinking well if only they……… Just remember as you stand behind that mom or that dad – you don’t know their story. Take your thoughts captive.
Maybe that mom, like me, has lost the love of her life and is trying to keep things as normal as possible. Remember she isn’t getting $1,000’s a month, she’s still finding it hard to make ends meet. Maybe she needs a smile, instead of your glare or ire, maybe she needs to know that it’s okay she’s asked for help, even if it’s from the government. If she’s a Christian like me, she doesn’t need condemnation from the church, she needs prayer, she needs support. Maybe if we weren’t all treated like trash, criminals, drug users then maybe we could hold our heads up in the store like the rest of the world, instead of fearing that check out lane, we’d be treated like everyone else.
Again, because I know someone will forget what I’ve said – I know there are exceptions, I’m not blind, I know there are those on assistance that are abusing the system and yes there should be ways to weed those out but again, not everyone on assistance is like that or desires to be like that.
(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws