GA foodstamps

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by Concerned_ Citizen, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. Concerned_ Citizen

    Concerned_ Citizen Well-Known Member

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    So, about 3 weeks ago or so my wife went to the local grocery to pick up a few items she needed. It was a saturday morning and the place was packed. As she walked around gathering things of her list she started to notice full carts sitting here and there unattended, just left. She thought it seemed strange but didnt think much more of it......As she started to approach the checkout out she saw at least 30-40 shopping carts just sitting with no-one around and full of food.....She asked what was going on and was then informed that the GA EBT (food stamps) system was currently down.......the shocker was that she was one of two people in the entire store that was NOT paying with food stamps........an ENTIRE store! Its no wonder what will happen when that system goes out for a week, a month, forever?

    I went into a connivence/gas station the other day and needed to pull out some money from the ATM......Im looking around for an ATM but cant seem to find it. The clerk points to a machine with a handmade sign that says EBT DEBIT CARD.........Confused I walk over to the machine to check it out........

    So if this snt a gross misuse of a system.....In GA, you are given food stamps in the form of a EBT card which acts as a debit card at the store......Its not supposed to let you buy things at liquor stores an such.....well connivence stores have this machine in which you swipe your card and it charges it and prints you a receipt.......you then take this receipt to the clerk and he gives you cash for it........anyway

    why havnt we started giving out drug tests to people receiving govt assistance?
     
  2. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

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    A few things:

    There are nearly 40 million Americans currently recieving nutrition assistance right now-including me and my family. Not all of us are abusing the system and using our money to buy drugs and booze. My husband and I both work, and have spent our time on assistance getting ourselves closer to NOT needing it. We expect to be off govt assistance within the next 6 months.

    Most convenience stores and discount retailers like Dollar General accept the EBT card. Unfortunately in my urban area, many low income families rely on these locations for their basic staples such as bread and milk because they do not have transportation or any other way to get to the regular grocery stores located in the suburbs. However, I have never seen an EBT "ATM" and quite honestly that does not sound legal to me. EBT can dispense food and cash benefits (TANF), but it does NOT work like a traditional bank debit card-at least its not supposed to. :scratch

    I completely agree that mandatory drug testing is a good idea, however it might be difficult to implement and make an already lengthy and tedious application process even longer-something that would place truly desperate families-especially those with young children-in a dangerous situation. When we applied for food assistance for the first time in 2006, they were able to give us those benefits immediately, as it was an emergency situation. We literally had NO FOOD. Waiting several weeks for drug test results would have placed a dangerous and unfair burden on us, especially me as I was in my 2nd trimester of pregnancy.

    Sometimes SHTF for good people who have bad luck. We had just returned from Arizona after a failed attempt to relocate and start a new life. With the help of family and friends we were at least able to get on our feet when we came home. But we had to leave AZ so quickly, there was no time to plan anything, no safety net. My husband had no job to come back to. Like I said, **it happens and you just do your best to work through it.
     

  3. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    Thanks, OFM, for sharing this with us. It's wonderful to hear the "positive" side from someone who isn't misusing their benefits, and who appreciates them and is working hard toward being off assistance. I'm proud to contribute my tax dollars to someone with your attitude. Best wishes as you keep on keeping on!

    As a former grocery store cashier, I could tell you story after story of the other side of this issue. But let's not.
     
  4. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

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    Oh believe me I know. Around here people trade EBT cards for dope and whatever else, or worse they allow their "friends" to sign as authorized users.

    If they calculated the amount based on a weekly need, we get more food assistance than we "actually" need. I use the surplus wisely and stock up on the basics. What they say is true-We eat better than we ever did before. I have no idea how people "run out" at the end of the month. I was in line at a drive-thru and was approached by this guy begging me for money because his food stamps had run out. Someone at the county should really be giving mandatory classes on budgeting and management. I was behind a woman at the store who had an entire cart full of nothing but the cheapest white bread, Velveeta, chipped ham, and fruit "drinks". I couldn't help but noticing that the two children accompanying her looked malnourished-brittle hair and dry skin. :mad:
     
  5. Bidadisndat

    Bidadisndat Newcomer

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    "...... I was behind a woman at the store who had an entire cart full of nothing but the cheapest white bread, Velveeta, chipped ham, and fruit "drinks". I couldn't help but noticing that the two children accompanying her looked malnourished-brittle hair and dry skin. ....."

    I've seen similar, OFM, and although I can't help but feel sorry for the children, I also try not to think too harshly of the parents, as I don't know anything of their circumstances. One thing is certain however: There is obviously a lack of education in both budgeting and nutrition.
     
  6. Biscuit

    Biscuit Member

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    This.

    Plenty of us are "the working poor." Food stamps are a part of a safety net but it's hardly a free ride, and it certainly doesn't cover an entire months' worth of food no matter how frugal you are. Nor does it buy toilet paper.

    It's meant as assistance, another word for "help." It's all well and good to look down your nose at people who accept this help (that seems to be a national pastime since the economy tanked)...until the day it happens to you.
     
  7. Biscuit

    Biscuit Member

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    If I may ask, do you have a large family? Things must be different in Ohio, or maybe food prices are lower there than in CA. I've never once run out, but the first month I was on food stamps (about 6 months ago) I came close. Mainly because I was starting with nothing after an emergency situation, and didn't have basics/staples.

    I can imagine if someone isn't a frugal type and/or buys junk food, I could see running out. Then again...that's a good way to learn about food budgeting. It's a mistake I'd never make more than once :)
     
  8. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    I once saw a lady in line at a grocery store smarting off about the woman in front of her buying a 10# bag of potatoes, which were high that week ($2.99), saying that only people on food stamps could afford to pay that price for potatoes. Yet she would have paid that much for a bag of Potato chips, gotten less food value, and probably that lady wouldn't have said a word. Seems fs people can't win no matter how they spend it.

    You guys just keep doing your best and remember that someone will complain no matter what you do.

    The attitudes toward people on food stamps stem from those who have that "entitlement" mentality, the ones who noisily expect the government to pay their way as though it's a right. Unfortunately, people like you guys (OFM, Biscuit) probably get some of the flak. Sorry that happen to you.

    For those of us who are paying the taxes that support these helpful programs, it's nice to hear from decent people who appreciate the benefits they get, and realize there are real people out there paying into those programs. It doesn't just come from some vague "money source", though the way the government spends it, you'd think so! (see the thread "Obama pays my welfare"!)

    Thanks, gals, for giving us a more positive glimpse at who gets fs.
     
  9. wolfwhisper

    wolfwhisper Active Member

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    Last edited: Sep 2, 2010
  10. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

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    There are five people in our household. Two adults and three children, ages 5,4, and 2. We recieve almost $600 a month in food assistance. Food prices are actually kind of high here, but I know how to shop wisely. I do most of my shopping at Wal Mart. I also supplement with our garden, get fresh farm eggs for free from a family friend (lol say that five times fast!), take advantage of "10 for $10" sales and stuff like that. I keep junk food purchases at a minimum, and even the few things I do buy like cookies and brownies I really should be making from scratch like I did before. Once we are off assistance I will probably have to start baking more...err...my husband will start baking again (I'm miserable at it.)
    Things like steak and other expensive cuts of meat are also rare purchases here. I stick to chicken and roasts or ground beef. Another friend of mine is an avid hunter and might be able to give me some venison this year, which will be a wonderful help.
    When we do have extra money, what do we spend it on? Yep, MORE food. I place a high priority on healthy eating, so I will spend more on whole grain breads and fresh produce. I'm also a big believer in using food as medicine, and spend a good chunk on raw cheeses and raw honey. (Working on finding a raw milk source, no luck yet...)
     
  11. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

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    This.

    If the current government nutrition "standards" weren't so screwed up, I'd say they need to have mandatory nutrition classes for everyone on food assistance. The WIC program focuses on nutrition, and I was lucky to have been in contact with some truly helpful and knowledgable people when we were in the program. But the way things are, they'd probably just preach the food pyramid and the "evils" of saturated fats :rolleyes:
     
  12. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    living in (God LOVES)Ohio is much cheaper than Caliweirdna

    most of the people I know that 'run out' of EBT are abusing the system &/or buying a lot of pre-packaged 'heat & eat' meals and things like lunchables for the kids... :(

    I think in the 'emergency situations' like some discussed here, immediate release of aid is important, but once the immediate crisis has been dealt with, time to PEE IN A CUP

    of course that does nothing immediately to help the kids of alcoholics (alcohol IS still legal after all)

    ... what a mess
     
  13. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

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    I am totally for mandatory drug testing, especially for cash benefits recipients. (something we easily would have qualified for but did not apply for-I just couldn't bring myself to do it.)

    Prepackaged foods are so expensive. The only items I get like that are frozen chicken nuggets and Easy Mac because my oldest loves mac-and-cheese and eats it all the time. I never buy frozen dinners or those "dinner kits". I buy a 10lb bag of rice and a few extra boxes of different pasta every time I go shopping-we eat a lot of it and it's good to have around just in case. I'd buy more potatoes, but my root cellar isn't really in working condition right now (gets too cold, wet, haven't even opened the door to it all summer because I am in denial about how bad it is....) I haven't had time to really sit down and take stock of everything we have, so I had my dad do a quick look-through of our food. He says we've got about two months' worth of food put up so far. Just keep working at it, little by little...
     
  14. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    redi-serve chicken products (nuggets, patties etc etc) can usually be found for $1/package (4 patties or 15-18 nuggets ~ 10oz) supposedly 3-4 servings, but let's be honest, 10oz is more like 2 servings and $0.50/serving of meat is NOT being frivolous with a food dollar (or stamp/card)
     
  15. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    Just a head's up here on the potatoes- I love those easy add water and butter and maybe a bit of milk and put in the oven potatoes and as ashamed as I am to admit it the instant hash brown boxes that my son loves--but I do tend to buy about 10lbs of potatoes at a time and could never eat them all and usually ended up tossing or nuking and feeding to the chickens the last 5 or 6 taters as they start to shrivel or grow-- but I just out and out decided to try shredding them and then steaming them for about 4 minutes(I did add a bit of vinegar to the water that the shreds were in before steaming as they do tend to turn black and yucky) and then putting them in my dehydrator and drying them on high over night- they ended up just like the shredded "box kits" that I had been buying! So now I plan on buying the up when I find them on sale (like now as it is harvest season right now around my area) and since I do know how to make a good cheese sauce/ cream sauce I am gonna just buy my own and dry then and then use them when I need them till we get a better way to store them, root cellar wise.
    In fact just taking about a cup full of the dried shreds and adding boiling water to cover and letting them sit for only 15 minutes they were ready to drain and then fry! I am gonna experiment with slices and thicker shreds as I have that little machine that does it for me (just search spirooli and you will see what I have)
    If you don't' have a dehydrator then shredding it, steaming or lightly blanching with boiling and putting in an oven on the lowest heat with the door cracked open will do the same.
     
  16. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

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    You can tell, a lot of the time, when the person in front of you in the store is genuinely on hard times or when they are one of the "entitlement" food stamp shoppers. I have absolutely no problem helping someone in need-the way I see it we are in what is (arguably) one of the best countries to live. I do not want a debate here on the ins and outs of the political system. My point is we are basically free to move around (or not) the country at will to try new things and find a new career/mate/whatever any time we choose to do so. Part of that, IMO, is that this nation take care of those on hard times. To me it should be on a temporary basis, for as long as a GENUINE need exists, and the recipient should be making some recordable attempt at bettering themselves for an eventual seperation from the assistance system. For a single mother, that might just be taking a single night class at a community college, but it's something. There is no shame in falling on hard times. Along with the freedom I spoke of comes some risk. Not all businesses succeed and not all decisions turn out to be the right one and some mistakes are costly. I've never been on assistance (I say that humbly, not in a holier than thou way at all) but I've always kind of thought that perhaps a periodic interview with a caseworker, if you will, would be a good idea because they can document that a person/family is trying to improve, not just sitting on the couch waiting for the next hand out. Just my 2 cents...
     
  17. Biscuit

    Biscuit Member

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    Ya got me there :)

    I'm sure it happens. My first month was rough just because I was starting over with nothing. I didn't realize how expensive it can be to get staples (flour, sugar, spices, baking powder) all at once (or sort of all at once). And yeah...I'm weird by Californian standards, since I almost always cook/bake from scratch. ;-)

    More than happy to, bring it on! lol
     
  18. Biscuit

    Biscuit Member

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    In the county I live in at least, it's extremely difficult to get cash aid (though I'm with you, even if I qualified I wouldn't have. Food is one thing...). To get cash aid here you have to be basically homeless and less than $50 (in cash and personal property).


    That's how I've always shopped, buying basics in bulk. I'm living in a 20 foot RV now, so I'm going to have to change my ways. Buying little teeny tiny amounts and spending the same as I would on a large amount that would last 10 times longer feels wrong, but that's how it is right now.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2010
  19. Biscuit

    Biscuit Member

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    Speaking for myself, I've paid plenty of taxes, paying into the system, over the years.
     
  20. Biscuit

    Biscuit Member

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    Where I live London Broil is cheaper than hamburger meat, and chicken is higher than that except on sale. I can't wait for cooler weather though...I have some great meatless soup recipes, and stew is good, too.