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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Food Stamps, No Really

So on my way to class this morning, traffic was really backed up and I couldn't figure out why. By the time I got to the place that was holding up traffic, I realized it was the St. Mary's Food Bank and people were lined up to get their food for Thanksgiving. It made me appreciate the fact that we don't have to go stand in line for food, but at the same time I know how close we are to having to stand in that line every week just to feed our kids. I never thought I would have to rely on state assistance to help me take care of my family. I never realized how easy it would be to get to the point that it was necessary. I know that at this point I have chosen to go to school and not work, but even if that was not the case I would have to make upwards of $30,000/year in order to cover everything that we get for assistance. Unfortunately the jobs that pay that much are looking for grossly overqualified people to hire and I do not always fall into that category.

This is so much bigger than what we're going through though. I can only imagine how many people are living on the verge of not being able to feed their families. It's kind of scary. What if they decided that food stamps needed to be cut like they did the health insurance last year? Can you imagine how many families that could affect? Last year when they cut the KidsCare Insurance for Parents, my husband and I lost out coverage that we were actually paying a premium to receive. Around that time I had a little bit of a health scare and my doctor thought I had several symptoms of MS. I had to hurry up and get the tests I needed in order to get a diagnosis. Fortunately, they determined that, as of right then, I did not have MS but imagine if I did. I was losing my health coverage and could have possibly been denied coverage when we would have been able to get it again because of a pre-existing condition.

If my husband and I lost our food stamps right now, I would have to work just to have food to eat and then we would lose all other assistance (medical coverage, child care). On top of that we would have to pay for child care. This may seem repetitive to those who have been reading my blog, but so many people downplay the importance of the assistance the state provides and why it would be devastating for those programs to be cut. A lot of people feel like it could never happen to them when the reality of the situation is that in our current economy, it is extremely possible and it is happening everyday. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would have to get any assistance once my husband and I got married. I thought that all we needed was our 2 incomes and we would be OK. When I lost my job we were still pretty comfortable, but when my husband lost his job as well, we were SOL. Getting that assistance was all that we had.

All I can say now is I get it. By no means am I condoning the people who live on welfare and section 8 and food stamps and child care and medical assistance for years and years and have no intention to work or find a job. That I do not believe is right, BUT the programs are there for a reason and we pay taxes to provide these programs to people who truly need them, who are down on their luck and need to get back on their feet and can't do it by themselves. For people who are trying to get to a better place in their lives and give back to their communities. I get that and my family is living that reality. I understand. I hope you understand a little more now too.

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