Friday, January 25, 2013

Empty Pantries

I know a woman who finally reached the point of desperation. She works full time. She supports six people. And she can't feed them so she applied for food stamps.

Yesterday, the social worker informed her she makes $800 a month too much to qualify. Her income is $2400 a month. Her outgo is $3500 a month--not counting groceries and gas to get to work--or any of those other incidentals like toiletries, toilet paper, doctors, dentists, and optometrists.

The social worker very carefully explained how the decision was reached. The state figures on the gross income, before taxes and deductions. Then they subtract your rent. And that's the figure they use. The rest of the bills like utilities and insurance and groceries? Well that's the applicant's problem.

The social worker was polite and as helpful as she was able to be. She offered the woman a list of food pantries.

There's just one problem with food pantries in her area. They're open during the week when she's working. The last time she was able to visit one of them, she received a bag of food that was over a year out of date and moldy. Another food pantry only allows recipients to visit once a month at which time the recipient receives one small bag of food. Funny how the donations to food pantries only happen at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Too bad most folks need to eat the other ten months of the year.

Like much of the middle class, this woman falls through the cracks. She's employed. Therefore, she doesn't qualify for assistance. What's the solution?

I don't know. I worry about my own kids. Three are living on the knife edge of poverty. How will they survive?

This is America. What happened? Maybe the members of our congress--men and women--should live on that edge for two or three months. I wonder what kind of changes would happen then...



  1. I hate to say this but members of congress and the president who pays a butt load of tax dollars to his dog handler. Go live hand to mouth like our kids do. My generation has it much better than my parents did, but my kids live with constant anxiety. And frankly, so do we. I'm grateful my husband has a secure job because we know we may have to support our children. And they have college educations!

  2. It's wrong. There are no other words to describe it. Politicians gladly spend money on elections, war, weapons, inaugural celebrations and other crap while those who work their arses off pay for those who don't and those who should. It couldn't get any more wrong.

  3. It's such a shame. We worry about our kids too. Only one can afford to live on her own right now and she really can't. They really do need to live like "real" people.