For me, the Christmas season, gift shopping and family togetherness of the past few days brings to mind thoughts of those less fortunate. I am a giving person. I teach my daughters to have giving hearts. When we were out enjoying our annual Black Friday people watching/shopping extravaganza, we purchased some toys to give to a children's charity. We made a $20 donation to Toys for Tots while idling at an intersection. We give every year to the food drive for Boy Scouts of America. ….just a few examples of our desire to give and help others. I believe in helping those going through rough times. I even believe in getting funded assistance when it is needed. I don't believe in skewing the facts to suit your story.
I ran across this post about a "Food Stamp Challenge" done in Toledo. The challenge highlights the supposed inability of food stamps recipients to appropriately meet nutritional needs. This challenge is put out by Hunger Task Force and Toledo Area Ministries, presumably in an attempt at educating the public. The premise is this: based on a $23 per week food stamp allotment, an individual cannot create a healthy diet. It is ironic they would issue such a challenge during the holiday season-in particular Thanksgiving-when many healthy foods are on sale. Moreover, it looks like yet another attempt to perpetuate a lie as the truth. Since not one individual is expected to actually feed themselves on $23 per week, the whole premise is a sham.
Giving more money to those on assistance only serves to make them more dependent on it and it puts more money into a system that is already failing badly. Throwing gobs of money at a problem does not make the problem go away. Unfortunately, many of our government officials just can't seem to get that through their heads.
After reading the original article done by reporter Kate Giammarise, the bias and half assed fact checking were obvious. I thought it quite telling when it was mentioned in the article that the amount of money being used as an example of what the receiptients would receive was not accurate, but that is the amount the reporter used anyway.
"Critics of the challenge have said that it does not accurately reflect the amount of money some food stamp recipients receive and that the program is intended to be a supplement, not a family's entire food budget."
Hmmm, really? So you are going to use inaccurate numbers to present a story as fact? But, the facts are not important- that's it. One sentence in the whole story and then the reporter goes on as if this does not matter. Why do reporters no longer care about the facts or the truth? So the government can later reassure us paying and spending more on taxes of all kinds are for "a good cause" that's why. This information is being presented from an inaccurate stance in a clear attempt to garner sympathy from voters; then when they go to the pole next time they will vote in the candidate that will put a stop to this "problem".
Well I have several "problems" with that. First, as Maggie accurately pointed out
"No one in the country is expected to live on only $21 a week. The maximum amount of food stamps a person can get - having no other income or resources - is $36.57. Those who get "only" $21 per week have been determined to need only $21 based upon a comprehensive formula which shows other funds (up to 30% of wages/other cash assets) available to be devoted to purchasing food."
The food stamp program is not intended to be the sum total of money that a family spends on food. It is to SUPPLEMENT dollars individuals are spending on food. If you don't understand supplement, please look it up.
Second, the whole welfare system is in shambles-you'll get no argument from me on that-but making people more dependent on a crap system is not the answer. Giving more money is not the answer. Educating people, training people, getting people off welfare/food stamps is the answer. We have to stop thinking money can be pulled out of thin air to solve problems. IT CAN'T.
Third, this reporter is a complete fool if she thinks her meal plan was the only way. Maggie Thurber was more than right when she pointed out that there are several ways to get variety and nutrition out of the dollars that woman used. There are so many ways to buy nutritious food without breaking the bank. Stock up when things are on sale. Buy fruits and fresh vegetables a few at a time-then they aren't going bad if you don't eat them. Get frozen vegetables, on sale, at every opportunity. I mean really, come on, use the brain god gave you. I use these tactics today. I like to save money when I can.
The most outrageous? When Blade Religion Editor David Yonke (he also participated) complained that he had to do without bottled water. What? Are you serious? This is a complaint? Hell, I did without bottled water most of my life and survived just fine.
Just for the record-I know what I'm talking about. While it seems like so many lifetimes ago (13 years), I once got assistance from my state. Divorced from a drug abusing alcoholic at 25, two young daughters (2 & 3), no job, no savings, and no child support- I got food stamps for my kids. For about 3 months. Until I found a J-O-B. I got on my feet and got off food stamps. I was never happier in my life than to get out of that degrading program. Even after I was by no means rich, not even comfortable. I sacrificed. I did without the unimportant things. I struggled, but I took care of myself. I learned a lot and I made my life what I wanted it to be. I did not let the government dictate my place. My family was there for me. Churches were there for me. Community organizations were there for me. That is how it is supposed to be. It is not supposed to be comfortable while you are getting assistance. You are supposed to be working to get off the program.
It sickens me-these days so many people look for a hand-out at every turn and government is happy to oblige. This is just another example of some thinking all things should be equal for all people no matter what-money, food, housing, wages-whatever. Our officials seem to believe they not only have as much money as they want, but that throwing around bucket loads of cash solves our problems. This is not the case -hard work, determination and believing in yourself solves our problems.
Be good to others. Give when you can. Help your neighbor and your family. Don't count on the government-not Bush or Obama-count on the strength of your will to get you what you want in life.