It came to my attention a month or 2 ago that a friend of mine had been very mean to another one of my friends, publicly shaming her for occasionally using the food cupboard. This is unacceptable to me; it reminds me of what my passion is in the work we do at PRFC. I am passionate about ending the stigma surrounding being poor, using SNAP and the food cupboard, of needing a little help. We all know that person that says “My tax dollars this, my tax dollars that…” or “well, they have a fancy phone/painted nails/nice car/etc; they don’t need help…” But guess what, we all also know someone who has probably needed help at some point. There is no shame in the game. No shame in needing help. No shame in doing what you need to do to take care of your family. There is no shame in needing to use the food cupboard. There is no shame in being poor. I volunteer at the food cupboard here in town. I’ve heard the comments people say about the customers who go there. “They don’t need to use the food cupboard.” To be perfectly honest, if someone didn’t really need the food cupboard, they would not get there 2 hours early, sit and wait. “They’re taking food away from people who need it.” Actually, there is plenty of food to go around. As long as there is community support, and people who care and want to help, (that’s where you come in!) there will always be enough for everyone. And just an FYI: quite a few of those people do work but still have trouble making ends meet. Having to choose between gas to get to work, heating costs, medical bills and food is not an easy decision, but getting help with at least the food part can be a huge weight off your shoulders.
Lots of people have lots to say about people who get SNAP benefits, as well. There is less than .9% fraud and/or abuse. .9%. Also, SNAP is less than 2% of the federal budget.
“Because of our progressive tax rate, the top 5% of taxpayers (the 7 million wealthiest Americans, those earning over $350,000 a year) cover 60% of the program’s cost. This means that SNAP cost the remaining 95% of taxpayers just $200 a year”. (Source: https://4thworldmovement.org/food-stamps-waste-money )
Look up the SNAP Challenge. I dare you to try it. (Eating on $4.50 a day per person for a month. Read about it here: https://www.budgetbytes.com/feeding-america-snap-challenge/ )
The point is, we are all in this together. Judging, harsh comments and pointing fingers aren’t helping anyone. Looking into someone else’s shopping cart and then lashing out on Facebook is not ok. What would be helpful? Volunteer at the food cupboard. Donating if and when you can, whether it be time, money, or a $1 bottle of spice for the food cupboard customer. Looking at your fellow man with the compassion you would appreciate if the tables were turned and you were in their shoes