This month was our first full month using the Food Stamp program. Applying for Food Stamps was very stressful for me because we were on the poverty borderline, so I really wasn’t sure if we would get them. They only take in to account your income, rent and childcare. Credit card debt (which unfortunately we need to use to survive) and out of pocket medical expenses (of which we spent over $18,000.00 on in 2009) are not taken into account. So although you may be desperately poor, you may not qualify.
But we did and I am thankful and feel lucky. It is such a relief to be able to buy my son healthy snacks and fruits, have the money to make healthy meals, and not have that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that I cannot afford any of it.
But I think about those other families who may not be so lucky, who may be making just a bit too much more, even a dollar more, and are not able to qualify for the food stamp program. Are those families doing any better off than mine?
Can families like this get help? Sure, but there is no freedom to eat what you want and to feed your children healthy foods like with the food stamp program. The food banks contain lots of pasta, cereals, starches, sugars and canned goods. There is not too many healthy options. Programs that allow you to buy food at approximately 50% off…well, you get what you pay for. The meats are high in fat, and again, lots of unhealthy foods from brands you’ve never heard of. WIC is a good program but can only provide you with milk, orange juice, and brands that a lot of stores don’t carry. And trust me, I’ve tried all of these options before saying I’d rather go into further debt than use these programs.
Were I to hit the lottery (yeah, good luck, right?) I would love to set up a fund for families on the fringe. Those who just don’t quite meet the poverty level yet have high expenses, especially for families like me who have gotten into this situation just because they are sick.