4.13.2006

helping you put good food on the table

I was on my way to work yesterday when I heard another commercial for foodstamps. they've been running them alot lately, trying to let people (mostly seniors) know that they could be eligible for food stamps even if they have an income. I try to ignore them. yesterday, though, they said something that jarred something in me and I had a very emotional response. they said that they have done away with paper food stamps and now have a card with a pin number that you can use like a debit card.

I think I had an emotional response because getting food stamps at the bank with a voucher and using them at the grocery store was one of the most humiliating things I have ever gone through. you could only redeem your voucher for food stamps at certain banks on certain days within certain hours, and only at one certain window. that teller knew they were on food stamp duty and they'd always be awful. once in a while, I'd get someone who was more sympathetic, but most of the time, they would just be angry that they had to pay for my food...I know, because I'd been told that by the tellers themselves.

the grocery store was worse, because not only would the cashier know you were using food stamps, but the people behind you knew too. it didn't help that I also was using WIC (Women Infants and Children, a program in pennsylvania that provides free food to, well, women, infants, and children) and since only certain kinds of milk, cheese, and cereal were covered, and things weren't sophisticated enough in the grocery store to have the computer tell you whether something was WIC-approved, the cashier would just hate me because she'd have to look it all up in the WIC book to make sure it was covered. and the whole thing took forever, while I tried to entertain trent after having shopped for a long time. I'm not sure if the cashier was more annoyed or the people behind me.

so, I guess my response to the fact that they FINALLY started using cards was that maybe those people using food stamps were finally able to hold their head up higher when they went shopping. and they didn't have to deal with exasperated bank tellers anymore. I will never forget the little booklets of different colored "money", though...I always thought they looked kind of like european money.

anyways.

bella has a huge scrape, bump, and bruise on her head. apparently yesterday, she was playing outside in the blue car and when she got out, she tripped and hit her head on the concrete. it looks nasty. seriously nasty. like, I wondered if she could have a concussion. of course, she didn't. it's right at her hairline and she forgets it's there and keeps hurting it. she likes to rub her own head (she'll push your hands away if you try) when she's nursing, rocking in the rocking chair, or drinking a bottle of milk. it helps relax her. but she keeps running her hand over the scrape and hurting herself, poor kid. if you ask her what is on her head, she says "bump." it hasn't slowed her obsession with bubbies, though. I hear "tinky winky, dipsy, la la, po!" in my DREAMS lately.

8 validations:

the beige one said...

I remember the dread of food stamps, and the condescencion heaped upon its recipients, I'm surprised that the old system was still in place that recently, actually.

OldMotherHubbardSharesAll said...

I will never forget having to go on Food Stamps when my kids were Middle School Age - AWFUL. We would not take them with us to go shopping and we would go 3 towns over to the store to keep from running into someone we knew. Now with the new system NO ONE WILL BE ABLE TO TELL! That's great!

lonna said...

Jesus, I can't believe that the tellers were so rude to you. Actually I can and that's even sadder. Anyway, we have a relatively new faculty member here who studies why people use or don't use WIC and food stamps. WIC is actually a federal program and it's easier to get than food stamps, but it is really specific as to what items you can get, and the rules about that don't seem to make any sense.

He did mention the debit cards, there was concern that they still wouldn't get the elderly to use the program. Apparently, they are quite stubborn when it comes to accepting help from the government. The way I see it, the money is put aside annually no matter what, so the people who qualify aren't really taking anything away from anybody, and if they qualify, they certainly can use the benefits.

You're lucky that Bella rubs her own head when she nurses. Dermot likes to scrape his finger nail across my thumb nail and it drives me crazy! He has also recently started to put his hands down my pants while he's nursing, and I am just not allowing that.

NME said...

It's great they are streamlining the system and totally understandable for you to have an emotional response to the news.

Awww! A Bella bump. Poor thing. Noah has a bump on his forehead regularly. As soon as one goes away he gets a new one. Today he hit his head on the coffee table.

I wish Noah rubbed his head. He still sticks his hand in my mouth and he also will play with my necklace which is a bit less invasive.

Oh and we are almost completely off of Tubbies. IT's all trains all the time at the Eggerts household.

Jen O. said...

They've actually had this system for a couple of years now (called EBT). It not only reduces humiliation people may face, but also reduces fraud, which was a huge problem with food stamps. I believe WIC works with the EBT system now, too.

When I worked at Acme, I had to teach new cashiers how to work with WIC and food stamps. It was not an easy system to learn, hence people looking things up all the time. We were required to do that, at Acme, and they said that we were required "by law." If a cashier rung up an item that was not WIC- or food stamp-approved, the cash register would not complete the transaction, which would take more time that looking it up.

I will admit to harboring some mean thoughts about one woman who used food stamps at Acme. She wore a fur coat, and bought so many things that appeared to be frivolous: very expensive shrimp, bags of expensive candy, etc. I recall one time that she purchased expensive party supplies. I know now -- who was I to judge? But I was 17, and it looked "not right."

One day my mom was at the Acme and I saw her talking to this woman. I asked my mom how she knew her. Mom whispered, "She's the only woman who ever stiffed me." Meaning, my mom, as a seamstress, did work for her and was never paid. So, my opinion of the woman didn't exactly improve.

~A~ said...

I'm a little mixed on the whole topic personally. Having been on WIC, it's one of the few social food programs I agree with and support, mostly because it does limit the type of food you can buy. And I'm glad they've gone to the debit system for those who really need the assistance, because I've had the cross eyed looks from other people when buying WIC items.

I've also have seen people, not overweight but very very overweight, buy the most unhealthy items and pay for it with their food program debit cards. I'm sorry, but if someone is collecting food assistance because they've become too fat to work, they shouldn't be buying Twinkies and Starbucks canned espresso drinks. And I've seen people get cash back with their assistance debit cards, I hope they were planning on going down to the local farmer's market to buy fresh fruits and veggies.

Poor Bella. I really hope her bump heals quickly. extra ((((HUGS)))) her way.

Missuz J said...

Poor Bella bumps!

It's good to hear that the system is improving.

Stine said...

I also remember the food stamps, and the trips to the Mormon food supply store. My poor mother was doing all she could, and I still felt so ashamed.

Kiss to Bella's head.