This post has been on my mind lately, and although it is controversial, I chose to write it because I have been in a situation where I could have easily accepted food stamps. Seeing as how the number of people in America who are receiving food stamps, almost 48 million, I thought it was time I shared.
Before anyone gets upset at me, let me assure you that this was not written to offend anyone. Yes, I know there are those who have to receive government assistance, whether it is with food or housing or both. There are some who cannot work because of physical limitations or who are working but can't support themselves or their children. I understand. But, let's be honest, out of the almost 48 million, on food stamps, how many have to have it?
I have a hard time swallowing the fact that 15% of Americans are receiving food handouts. But, let me share with you my story. I was one of those who really did need food stamps, but chose not to.
I was a single parent. My ex-husband left my daughter and I when she was four months old. He also left me with debt, and because I was in the military, I was held accountable to pay for it all. My income as an airman was extremely low. We are talking $25,000 a year low and that was just in 1995-98. But, never once did I consider jumping on the food stamp bandwagon. And I was working for the government! During that time, I did not have a garden or a desire to be self sufficient, but I did want to be able to make it on my own, without any government help. That, nowadays, is a form of self sufficiency!
Not only was I dirt poor, but my ex-husband did not pay child support. How did I manage? I worked and lived within my means. I moved to an affordable apartment and continued to serve my country as an airman. I never fought to receive child support either. Some of you might not agree with me on this and that is okay. You see, I did not want to be dependent on someone who was not a good person. If I received child support from a troubled soul, my rights as a mother would be stripped away and this evil person would have rights to my daughter. Rights that I was not willing to give. It was money or my daughter. Was I willing to sacrifice my daughter so that I could get a few hundred dollars a month? No way! That being said, I am in no way suggesting other single parents do this, but it is something I feel strongly about and it needs to be said.
It troubles me to see someone in the checkout lane who is dressed better than I am, with an expensive phone that I could never afford and whips out their food stamp card. You have all probably experienced the same. It troubles me to see single women with highlights in their hair, fake fingernails, expensive computers/tablets/you name it and/or phones who throw in a bunch of junk in their cart and bring out their food stamp card. When you see this often enough, you know all of those expensive items and care were not given as gifts for most of those people. Notice I did not say all, but most. This is their way of life.
What is wrong with America? Until the people of this once great nation start to look within themselves and realize that they are part of the problem, we will continue to be a nation of handouts. Until that single parent humbles herself and works at a less than glamorous job and lives within her means so she doesn't have to be dependent on the government, she will be part of the problem, no matter whose fault it is of how she became a single parent. Until that perfectly healthy man who chooses to sit on his rump and play video games all day sees what a bum he has become, he will continue to be the problem.
Until these people realize how hard they are making it for hardworking people like my husband, this nation will continue down a spiraling path. Every time I look at my husband's pay stub, I am angered. Angered of all the taxes that are taken out to pay for those said people above. Angered that they are living better, have better cars, better health insurance, better clothes, better appliances, you name it.
But, I will continue to strive for self sufficiency because I know that is the right thing to do. It is people like you and me who made America great, not those who chose to be on the food stamp bandwagon and continue to live for handouts and never better themselves. Their children are watching. Will it stop with the parents? In most cases, no. The handout syndrome will continue down from generation to generation.
So, let's raise up generations of hardworking children that will follow our footsteps. Let's remind them of our forefathers and what they stood for. Let their entrepreneurial minds flourish and teach them the satisfaction of being self sufficient. They might notice that it's easier to get a handout, but in their hearts they will know where that will lead.
Maybe others will see and notice. Maybe they will change their mindset as well....
This may sound like a pretty harsh post for some. Again, I do realize that there are those that really do need food assistance.
There are those that are working hard but cannot afford to buy food for their children. They are by no means contributing to the real problem.
But, I also know that one out of six Americans are on food stamps and the numbers are rising. Does this mean that one sixth of us are not capable of making ends meet, or are some of us choosing the easy way out? I think we all know the answer to that.
Update on this post:
The majority who have commented understand the intent of this post. There are some who for some reason or another see it as a judgmental one. Some say that I have no say so and it is none of my business what others buy or wear when on food stamps(SNAP). Others say I do not know what it is like, seeing as how I was never on food stamps(Wasn't that one of the reasons I wrote it? Read the title.) Others are just downright nasty(but I'm the one judging?).
Let me share with you another short story about myself. When I remarried and became pregnant with my second child, I decided to take an honorable discharge and get out of the military so that I could stay at home with our children. My husband was also an airman, so we were once again living on $25,000 with a mortgage. We really wondered how in the world we could afford groceries!
Although God did take care of us, I eventually rejoined the Air Force as a part-timer. That once a month paycheck helped pay for some of our groceries. It was during this time that I began to learn about eating healthier. I also learned about how to cook from scratch. No one taught me this, I did my own research and found out myself. I will never forget how happy I was when I planted my first little patch of green beans!
We have struggled financially, still do at times(another judgmental comment seemed to think we are rich?). But, we are striving to become more and more self sufficient. Could we have used government assistance? You bet! Am I in some way "high almighty"(yep, heard that one too!) because we chose not to? Let's just put it this way, if that is the way you feel about this post, then I really believe you need to find out why you have taken offense to it.
How people abuse the system is concerning to me and it should be to any tax-paying adult. Notice once again that I did not mention those who are not playing the system. They are not the problem!
As I have mentioned numerous times before in replying to so many people judging me for this post, America is in deep trouble if it continues to go this route. Do you really think this country is spiraling downward because of others being judgmental? Or are you one of the ones who get this post and it's intent?
Please, only encouraging comments will be posted below.
Are you up for a challenge that will help you become more self sufficient?