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new ThinkChristian post up

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

I meant to mention this yesterday but forgot somehow. I’ve got another ThinkChristian post up.

http://thinkchristian.net/thanksgiving-on-food-stamps

Officially, it’s about the Food Stamp challenge I do this year, where you only buy food you could afford if you had to rely on food stamps. But it ended up being more about how I, as a middle-class white Protestant, have struggled to relate to and understand people with a much lower income than mine, including the homeless. It’s about the importance of raising your consciousness and realizing the limitations of your experience, and how that affects the ways we view others. At least, as much as I can communicate in 750 words. :-)

No Tolkien, unfortunately, but it is from my heart. Do give it a read if you have the time. I’d love your comments, either there or here.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
dreamflower02
Nov. 19th, 2012 02:26 pm (UTC)
Excellent articles, both yours and the one you linked to.

Working in a grocery store as I do, I see all the time the various uses of food stamps and how people react (both as users of food stamps and observers of those who use them). There are those who are quite matter of fact about it, and those who seem very embarrassed about it. There is one older woman who has been coming in and using food stamps for as long as I've been working there. EVERY time she comes in, she tries to act as though she has never used them before, and as though she does not know how to use her card. I feel sorry for her, but I know some of the other checkers find her exasperating.

And exasperation is the reaction frequently of people in line behind someone using food stamps. Eye rolling, foot tapping, fidgeting, and very often, unkind remarks to me when the person has finished but is not yet out of earshot.

It doesn't help that the system makes it slower: even with the cards, which should not take any longer than any other form of plastic, the Access cards do--there is the putting in of the PIN, and then there is the tapping the OK button at the end--which no other cards at our store have to do. And then the printing out of the receipt takes about three times longer than a receipt for cash or a check, and about twice as long as a regular credit card receipt. I have no idea why, but I would think there would be SOME way to fix that.

Food stamp users can be anyone: someone who's on unemployment (maybe for the first time in their life); young mothers with children; the disabled; the elderly who are trying to make ends meet on their Social Security; someone who has had a recent disaster. I guarantee you that none of these people prefer food stamps to being able to pay in the ordinary way.
marta_bee
Nov. 19th, 2012 08:28 pm (UTC)
A lot of adjuncts go on food stamps. These are people with terminal advanced degrees who have been hired to teach individual courses rather than getting hired full-time to teach at starvation wages because there aren't other options. These are highly educated, highly qualified and intelligent people stuck in a bad job market - partly because of the economy downturn and partly because of a sadly exploitative academic system.

So, yeah. I have little patience for the idea that folks who say people who are poor are moochers, because I know they aren't. Sad to hear the system is still slow, even with the cards. For myself, I really do believe a little bit of dignity can go a long way here. Definitely worth being patient, if only so you feel like you've been good to a stranger who has it harder than you.

(But why must the cards be slower? I get the WIC thing, where it can only be used for special purposes, I dealt with that as a cashier myself, but surely there's a better way for food stamps...)
lindahoyland
Nov. 21st, 2012 03:17 am (UTC)
A very thought provoking article.Thanks for sharing.
marta_bee
Nov. 21st, 2012 04:26 am (UTC)
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed.
hhimring
Nov. 22nd, 2012 07:45 am (UTC)
I think that's a very good post!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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