I feel cutting the SNAP (formerly food stamp) program is a national disgrace and that we should be held responsible. More families in this area use food stamps than do not. It is long past time we stopped holding individual breadwinners as well as their minor children totally responsible for their hunger. Groceries are expensive! I don't mean filet mignon and lobster, but the basics such as eggs, tuna, and dried beans. Tuna, which was .50 to .75 per can a year ago, is now twice that. Store brand white bread which was a dollar or so last year is now as much as $1.50.
In addition to the city's food bank, many area churches (including ours) have small food banks. When we shop, we always include a few things for the church's food bank. Usually, we try to include basics many of us take for granted, such as dish soap, soap, detergent, cosmetic basics such as shampoo, deodorant, hand lotion, baby wipes, diapers, etc. NONE of which is covered by food stamps but should be, in my humble opinion.
Trying to have a discussion about the food stamp program and the breakdown of its participants is like trying to pull a tooth without benefit of Novocain. I remember several such discussions being held -- in a manner of speaking. Trying to convince a bunch of schooled (but still uneducated) people who have never had a minimum wage job that people who do, or who have lost their jobs, or who work multiple jobs just to break even, aren't lazy and unmotivated can be next to impossible sometimes.
When I hear someone say something like, "They should use their savings before using food stamps!"
I want to stomp my foot and scream! What savings, you idiots? When you have a minimum wage job or no job, savings are not a priority or possible. You're too busy figuring out how in heck you'll pay the rent. Food, even with food stamps, often becomes something looming large overhead at all times.
Some things aren't on the approved list that should be, just as there are some than should be banned entirely. When we begin to run low on such things as toothpaste, dish liquid or deodorant, whoever notices it first, adds it to the list on the fridge. For a food stamp user, they either do without or hope some area food bank or social agency has some. I do not feel things like sodas, Cheetos, etc. should be approved. I am NOT saying people using food stamps shouldn't buy sodas and munchies, just pay for them with cash! When our cash is tight, junk food is the first to go. Doesn't kill us!
If members of congress had to live on food stamps for a month or two, they would have their eyes opened quickly! What most people never realize is that poor and low income people are all around us. Not everyone "looks poor."
I wonder how many members of congress (especially Republicans) have ever talked with a person on food stamps? Probably a great number have, because use of the program is so prevalent. People just don't announce the fact that they use them.
In addition, it is vital that summer programs for kids that include breakfast and lunch not lose their funding! In this area, the YW, the YM, the schools, etc. provide meals with all their youth programs. These programs do not exist to replace food stamps, but rather to supplement them.
Congress must be forced to realize that most food stamp users are age eight and under and can't just "go out and do an honest day's work."