Tough Choices for the hungry

In view of our concerns about recession responsiveness here is an interesting and very sobering article from CNN

  • Story Highlights
  • More than 1 in 10 Americans are part of the federal food assistance program
  • Some people say it is hard or impossible to make ends meet, even with help
  • President Obama’s economic stimulus plan could increase food-stamp funding
  • CNN’s Sean Callebs will live on $176 this month to learn about life on food stamps

Read more

Part of what we will be doing during Lent is spending a week living on a food budget of $2/person per day as identification with the poor and also to free up some money to give to an organization that works with the poor.  If you are interested in joining us check out the Lenten Guide


14 Responses

  1. What is going on here in America? How sad…More and more people having to decide whether to fed their kids…..This isnt Africia for god sake. This is the USA…It used to mean something….Not much anymore….USA now stand for CORROPTION…..Those who already have steal more form those who now have nothing….Bush really did ma number on this country. Plain and simple truth….Handed over quite the mess to Obama…..NOW WHAT? people are not killing their familes over the despair of losing their jobs. Exactly how much more blood needs to be shed? How many more kids have to go hungry here and possibly die? How many more jobs are there to lose and with the peoples homes that they have paid on for years. I have no dreams left. Only nightmares. I want my life back. I want a JOB……See I lost it due to the greed in the housing market…….I warned the builder I used to work for back in 2005 that the end was nearing. i saw all to well what the lenders were doing to get people their loans. I sat appalled at it. I after all was just the builder. I didn’t have any right to tell the big bad lender nothing. Well, look at us now…….WHAT NOW? People are in need right now…..Big need. They money that the government gave as a bailout WHERE DID IT GO? There was NO accounting for where that money went. WHY NOT? Who was suppose to be keeping track.? NO ONE….And now another 800bil….Who is this suppose to help? the very same people you alrady gave it to that didn’t even account for the last money you gave them? My dears in Washington, perhaps you should have given that money to the AMERICAN PEOPLE themseleves. After we are the ones who need the BAILOUT right now…Not the fatc cats…..You all forgot about us. We sit here with no food and still losing our homes…..Your all still missing the boat……Its the AMERICAN PEOPLE who make this economy moved….NOt the greedy fat cats who already stole all the money…..WHY NOT LINE OUR POCKETS NOW? I have no job so just how are the new tax cuts gonna helo me. I can t even find a damn job……I do not know how much longer I can hold on. i am actually thinking about divorcing my husband ofto make his and my kds life better right now. I din’t know what to do anymore….Only you our crack government can help. But, you choose to bail out other nonsense instead of bailing us out…..Yet again, you all let us down…..

  2. Dear chitown lady, I am heartbroken to read about the struggles you and your family are going through. I have heard before that divorcing your spouse can increase the amount of aid your family receives from the federal government (my parents faced the same decision once, and opted to stay together), but please don’t do it; I can tell that you and your husband love each other, and it would be a terrible thing to do. I will pray for you, and others will pray, and God will help you and your family. My parents and I never found ourselves on the street, but my father did go through unemployment more than once, and at one point we had to live in tents in a state park. However, God gave my father a job, one more safe and steady than he ever had before, and to this day he has remained with that employer and is about to retire with them. (He works for the state government.) My dad is not rich, but God did pull him out of the depths of dispair. Please keep your faith in God and pray to Him. He does care, and He will rescue you.

  3. The problem is not too little money for food stamps, but the lack of education on how to buy food, cook food, and plan meals. I am not on food stamps, but spend around $250 a month currently on food for a family of four (2 adults, 2 teens) I can cook a great meal at dinner for $5 and have leftovers, which will then be made into another meal like soup or a casserole. Breakfast is usually cereal or eggs & toast. Lunch is sandwiches or leftovers. And yes, we eat fresh fruit, frozen veggies and made from scratch food mostly. The main problem is people don’t know how to use leftovers and don’t know how to cook. If you have chicken, corn and green beans one night, you then have chicken vegetable soup the next night. The cost is essentially free for the soup meal, as it’s leftovers. Even add a can of diced tomatoes, that’s only $.60.

  4. If the baby factories would stop banging out fatherless babies they cannot afford, those of us getting taxed to death to feed them would get a break and be able to feed our on families better. A lot of the baby factories can sit home on their asses with their excuses for not working because there are still a few of use who carry our own weight in society. I am tired of getting taxed to pay for the stupid decisions made by other people. I have no sympathy for the Food Stamp crowd; they don’t give a damn about me when I am paying for them to stuff their face.

  5. This article surprised me very much. A couple of years ago we were on food stamps. For our family of 3 we were given over $400 per month, needless to say I never needed it all. We felt bad buying junk with other people’s money so we bought a small container of ice cream once a week and once a month we went and got a couple of candy bars, other then that we bought bread, peanut butter, hamburger, fresh fruit, fresh and frozen veggies, chicken, etc. I always had extra money at the end of the month. We ate better on food stamps then we ever have since, especially once I discovered the health food store in town would take the card too. We are happier now that we can take care of ourselves, but we can no longer afford organic veggies and fruit every week. I wonder if these folks who are complaining are like the ones I often follow in the grocery store: a whole cart of hostess, a whole cart of soda, and a cart of what con only be considered junk food all on the food stamps. (I do know what the cards look like.) Now I try not to judge, perhaps a family member has a rare disease that can only be treated with high fructose corn syrup, lots of sugar, and non nutritious food. However, since I was there myself not so long ago, I know it is possible to feed a family extremely well, with very good food, while being on food stamps.

  6. I work helping a single mother of one son. She works for a little over minimum wage. She does have a hard time paying for her apartment but as her son says, with food stamps we never go hungry. As other people have said you can eat pretty well on food stamps but you do have to be smart about it.

    One thing that she has told me which I hope is not true but I wish some reporter would follow up on is that the grocery stores know when people get their food stamps and they raise prices on that day.

  7. I am fascinated by this discussion and the strong emotions that it rouses. I don’t think that any of us who have never been hungry understand the horrors of not knowing where your next meal is coming from and at the same time facing the hostility of those who judge them as being lazy or parasitic on the system. Poverty is an awful thing and we often contribute to the plight of the poor in ways that we do not want to admit to.
    It horrifies me that we do not pay many workers a living way. Minimum wage is not enough to provide for a family yet we do not point a finger at those who perpetrate such a wage structure. Nor do we get irate at employees who expect their workers to subsist on such inadequate pay and therefore force them to apply for food stamps and other assistance if they want to survive. No we get upset at the employees who can’t find a job that pays enough for them to live on
    As for tax dollars – 21% of our taxes in 2007 went to military spending. Some estimate that in 2008 it was closer to 50%. Only 8-9% of the federal taxes went to assistance programmes for the poor and these programmes tend to be the first cut when economic times get bad.
    Why do we always blame the poor most of whom don’t want to be poor and most of whom work long hard hours to scrape together enough to live on and as I already mentioned they carry the added burden of the hate and anger of the middle class that somehow feels taken advantage of.
    Yes I think that many poor families could do with help on how to shop and how to manage money but so could many middle class and rich people. I do know that some supermarket chains move their goods to poor communities when they are close to expiration dates so the poor rarely get the best of anything – that is of course if there are supermarkets in their neighbourhoods. After all supermarkets make more money in wealthy neighbourhoods and so rarely see locating in poor neighbourhoods as a priority. Those who live in poverty often have to frequent more expensive 7-11 type stores because there is nothing else in their nighbourhoods.
    Until we have walked beside our sisters and brothers who depend on food stamps I don’t think we have any right to criticize and maybe if we do walk alongside them we will help them to live more healthy and less dependent lives

  8. I am not on food stamps, so I guess I can’t complain, but I am waayy broke, and have never worried where I could get my next meal. There is so much food thrown away every day, and so much given away free, that while food stamps are nice, at least for single healthy people like me they aren’t the last option. Hungry isn’t the worst thing you can be anyway.

  9. My neighbor goes to the “uppity” grocery store every Saturday and gets all the stuff they are throwing out. Other families and some local groups like soup kitchens sign up for the various days of the week. They bring it home, sort through it, keep what is good and feed the rest to their farm animals- nothing is wasted. Their van is FILLED each week with fruit, vegetables, cakes, pies, french bread, baked goods, birthday cakes, etc. They invite me and some other folks over to take a couple cases each week. I have enough to feed my family of 4 very well- mostly fruits and vegetables. Sure, maybe the bananas have some brown spots on them, but they’re better for banana bread that way anyhow! I have to either eat, can or freeze the food right away, so I spend an afternoon cooking and freezing. Tomorrow, I’m making orange juice to freeze from a case of oranges. There is no reason that folks couldn’t grow much more of their own food- even in the city and it’s enjoyable and therapeutic as well. In my opinion, there is absolutely no reason for ANYBODY in this country to be hungry- we waste so much food we could feed twice this many people- easily.

  10. I think the problem is a lot of people who qualify for food stamps can actually afford the lives they live and can make ends meet… Now those who REALLY need food stamps and such usually don’t have enough to even afford decent internet, let alone a computer, to find out about these programs…

  11. So many people that we serve have one meal a day. At the shelter one of the big challenges I face is guys hoarding food because they have been so hungry in the past.

    I can’t imagine that but for many Americans and Canadians, it is a way of life.

  12. If I were on food stamps, I would buy brown rice, cornmeal, dried beans, and vegetables, NO meat, some fruit, and live on that, which is pretty much what I do anyway. You can cook up some great meals, and even freeze them for later. There are so many varieties of beans, and you can make polenta (delicious) with cornmeal very simply, just with a little oil and salt. To eat very economically, a pressure cooker is a great investment (for the beans, etc.).

  13. Am I the only one who finds it ironic that we live in a country with an alarming rate of obesity and concerns that people are now going hungry? Wherever I go I find people sipping on $5.00 lattes and munching on Mc Donalds. Restaurant are packed and grocery carts are filled with packaged convenience foods. I find this to be true in middle class areas as well as those described as poor. I teach school in an area with a socio economically disadvantaged population. My students, however, all arrive with packaged snack foods. They receive a free or reduced cost lunch. Much is thrown away. Good old fashioned home cooking is one way to save and stay healthy but I fear that the kind of meals my mom used to make are a thing of the past.

    • Elizabeth this is definitely true. One of the challenges is that many people today )(rich and poor) don’t know how to cook from scratch. In fact one of the ways we can help is with cooking lessons and budgeting help. One ministry that I really admire is Bridge of Hope in Pennsylvania. They recruit a church to surround one single parent mom. They get 10 to 12 people within that church to help – one providing child care another budgeting help, another help with resume, how to dress for an interview etc. This has been a very effective way to help improve a family’s way of life – a real hand up not a hand out.

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