I recently read an article about getting by on $200.00 a month in food stamps. The author of the article is not homeless and not on any kind of state assistance so for her, this was a “challenging” experiment. For the thousands of homeless families and individuals who know what it is to live on less with no apparent end in sight, this is not a casual experiment but a living nightmare yet policy makers continue to make cutbacks to programs that are needed more than ever. Why? In a country that touts being a wealthy developed nation, why is giving the wealthy tax breaks more important than feeding the masses?
From the article, the author goes on to say that this was indeed a learning experience. For one thing she couldn’t shop at places like Whole Foods or where she usually shops. Of course not! Those places are expensive and when living on a budget, you make as many concessions as you can! Visiting food banks is something many of us have to do even with food stamps. Let me ask the reader this, have you ever visited a food bank? If so, did you notice a lack of healthy options such as fresh fruits and vegetables? Did you see a lot of cheap foods like Ramen, macaroni & cheese, bread, canned foods? I have only seen two food banks in my area that offer fresh produce donated from a farm with
surplus and only when in season. Not to offend anyone but for those who assume that people on food stamps are all overweight due to laziness, think again!
Here’s another tidbit of info that goes hand in hand with the topic of the food stamp program. JP Morgan profits from the food stamp program: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zf8v7RYk6Y
Not only that, Chase charges more in fees to recipients of welfare more than they do regular customers:http://www.realchangenews.org/index.php/site/archives/5597/
From my own experience I can tell you that with careful budgeting, occasional visits to the food banks and growing my own veggies in a community pea patch all help towards managing starvation but even then, that doesn’t always work. If I find myself in a neighborhood that doesn’t have many options outside of expensive convenience stores and a lack of food banks in the area or the food bank shutting down due to lack of donations, I will skip meals so that my kids won’t have to. That’s the reality of dwindling programs due to budget cuts that aren’t directly affecting policy makers willing to slash budgets at the expense of those who need them the most.
So you want a challenging experience? Go out and deliberately live homeless for a minimum of two weeks so that you can see firsthand just how little you can get by on. I guarantee it will be a real eye opener…..