Food Stamps: Mean Girls on Face (Burn) Book

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For some reason, the interweb decided a few years ago that today (October 3rd) would be declared Mean Girls Day. I guess it all has to do with this clip from the movie:

Anyway, whatever. So, I was reading a thread the other night that was totally not fetch. And I was thinking…how appropriate right before Mean Girls Day. Because what I read appeared to be coming out of the organic apple pie hole of a straight up mean girl.

Okay, okay…here’s the dealio.

A local organic produce store (totes cute, btw ***and yes, I hate that I just used the term totes***) made a post on Facebook that they are now happy to be accepting EBT payments. For those unaware, that means Foodshare/Quest (food stamps, if you’re old school). This is a good thing, right? I mean the majority (hopefully) of us know that one of the most tragic aspects of poverty is the lack of nutrition which only helps perpetuate the cycle. I will talk more about that in a minute.

As I was reading the replies to this post, I was shocked to see the brazen and uneducated comments made by a particular woman. Using her full name (even though I was kind enough to redact) – with access to her Facebook page and personal information – she went on a majorly spazzed out tirade. Wanna see?

Thankfully, I was not alone in being appalled by the words this woman was spewing. Others chimed in with their disgust – giving me some hope that the world isn’t completely going to shit. However, what makes the whole thing even more sad is the fact that this woman is a nurse. I don’t know, but I tend to put nurses (like teachers) on a pedestal. I like to think of them having compassion and empathy. But all I can think about now is how I would belly crawl, leaving a skid mark of blood out of those sliding glass doors if I saw her coming toward my gurney.

And I cannot help but to wonder…if this is what she says out in the open, to strangers, for the world to see…what does she keep to herself?? And how many people out there feel the same way she does? A lot, I know. But, really, how many? Most? God, I hope not.

If you’re like most people, you might try not to think about the sad situations in life. You may try to blind yourself from the ugly and shut your ears to the screaming facts. Well, ya came to the wrong place because I am going to be serving you a few nutritious bullet points today:

  • SNAP benefits (less than $5 a day, on average), and the income requirements to even qualify for them (a maximum of $29,000 for a family of four), are hopelessly out of sync with the cost of living today
  • One out of every 2 kids in The United States at some point in their childhood will be on food assistance
  • Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics and a respected expert on nutrition and the intersection of nutrition and commerce, explain the evolution of farm subsidies and how these subsidies and commodity crops directly affect the prices of processed foods, making them the only really affordable choice for those with limited mean
  • Brief periods of nutritional deprivation during the first three years of life can permanently affect a child’s brain and have lifelong consequences
  • Dr. Alfio Rausa, a district health officer of the Mississippi State Department of Health, has seen firsthand how the predominance of processed foods in the diets of children have led to alarmingly high rates of obesity and diabetes as well as asthma and other conditions
  • Obesity and health issues caused by lack of access to healthy food costs the U.S. approximately $167 billion per year
  • One in 3 children born in the year 2000 will develop Type 2 Diabetes
  • 85% of those families that are food insecure have at least one working adult it the household
  • Food stamp eligibility is based on total household income. To qualify, the income for a family of 4 cannot exceed $29,000 per year
  • The average food stamp benefit is under $5 a day
  • The relative price of fresh fruits and vegetables has gone up by 40% since 1980 when the obesity epidemic first began. In contrast, the relative price of processed foods has gone down by about 40%
  • About 70% of agricultural subsidies have gone to just 10% of the total number of U.S. farmers
  • We subsidize the basic ingredients in processed foods. We do not subsidize fruits, vegetables and whole grains because the producers tend to be small producers
  • 76% of SNAP households included a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person. These vulnerable households receive 83% of all SNAP benefits
  • SNAP benefits don’t last most participants the whole month. 90% of SNAP benefits are redeemed by the third week of the month, and 58% of food bank clients currently receiving SNAP benefits turn to food banks for assistance at least 6 months out of the year
  • SNAP already has strict time-limits for unemployed workers. Able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) may only receive 3 months of SNAP benefits during any 3 year period, unless they are working in a qualifying job training program

(These facts and stats can be found in the documentary A Place at the Table and on the website FeedingAmerica.org)

I have written about this topic before. I wrote THIS earlier this year. And I wrote THIS in 2011. And my opinions on small details have wavered a bit as I have grown, become more involved and have educated myself. I have also become more compassionate. They say you get more conservative and less liberal with age – that has certainly not been the case with me. Let’s hope the chica above grows some compassion eventually. Let’s hope the people start to really see not only the big picture, but also realize these are HUMANS we are talking about.

My comment to this person was something like this (thread was deleted so I am going by memory):

I hope that people will realize that at any time in life, tragedy can happen. And you may have to one day use the programs that which cause you so much disgust. While you are using one hand to pat yourself on the back, you have another hand free. You can use it to help someone up or push someone down. The choice is your’s. But remember, karma’s a bitch.

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About Heather Rayne

I am a mom, wife, writer, volunteer, eater of food, lover of animals and avid TV enthusiast. I am opinionated, honest, compassionate and sensitive. I can also be difficult, hard headed and emotional. I consider myself to have a great sense of humor and am very attracted to that in others. I am striving to live an authentic life. I am attempting to learn how to find happiness in the now. I always have hope to be a better person. That being said - I can be vulgar, negative and even a little bitchy at times. I say what I mean and my filter is often dysfunctional. With me, what you see is what you get. I have strong opinions and am quick to speak my mind. This can cause problems from time to time but I do not ever intend to hurt or offend anyone. With that - be warned. I do hope you enjoy my site. Thanks for visiting and have a swell day.

3 responses »

  1. What a load of crap. This woman claims she made $10 an hour and had no help from anyone? That’s $1600 a month, less 15% taxes, less the $600 she says she paid for child care, equals $760 for rent, gas, car, food, utilities, clothes, etc. Yeah – no help from anyone. I don’t believe her.

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