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Food Stamp Recipient Tired of Being Unfairly Judged Responds With This Scathing Letter

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Food Stamp Recipient Tired of Being Unfairly Judged Responds With This Scathing Letter

What you're going to read in a couple of minutes will definitely tug at your heartstrings and should absolutely make anyone think twice about judging someone else's circumstances in life. There's a sentiment among conservatives that those who use food stamps or any other kind of governmental assistance are doing so only because they are too lazy or incompetent to work for themselves. While it may be true that where there's a way to abuse the system, some will find that way and take it, the truth is that for millions of Americans every year food stamps and other social welfare programs are the difference between survival and starvation.

 

The Internet brings us this letter from a Sue Bulger in Minneapolis, MN. Sue wrote this letter after getting the stink-eye from a particularly judge-filled person at her local supermarket. Perhaps you've seen someone in your local store paying for their food with a food stamps card. If you've ever felt like maybe that person didn't "deserve" that assistance, or if you've ever wondered if it really helps at all for us to pay into social welfare programs, please read this letter a few times over.

 

If we cannot reach a hand out to those among us who, like Ms. Bulger, need help, then what is the point of being the richest nation in the history of the world? Regardless of whether Sue had extenuating circumstance on top of extenuating circumstance, at one point do we stop acting so selfishly as to cast a judgment-tinged eye on someone in the grocery store for having the audacity to ask for and get help when they need it most?

 

Something tells us if more people wrote or read letters like Sue's, there would be a lot less need for letters like this in the first place.

 

This is an apology to the lady behind me in line at Cub Foods in Edina on a recent Sunday night. This is also a reminder to me and to others who have ever slipped into believing that we are just a little better than others we encounter.

 

We were at the checkout, and just as the cashier started ringing me up, I saw you come to the line with a small order in your basket. My first apology is that I could not let you go ahead of me, but the checkout process had already begun.

 

My second apology was for pulling out my pile of discount coupons for the order, and especially when one required the manager's assistance. I know I was holding you up.

 

And then I swiped my payment method and you lost your patience. It was EBT - "food stamps."

 

I did not observe you, but my daughter was with me packing the groceries and saw it all: "EBT: Yeah, right," you muttered, with that look of disgust that would have shattered someone feeling just a little bit of shame over needing food stamps.

 

As we walked to the car, my daughter told me what had happened, and I sensed her resolve about having made the right decision to work for social justice as she starts her senior year in a social-work program.

 

We talked about you all the way to the car, and about how sorry we felt for people who were judged because they depended on support from others. But my real apology is that I did not make eye contact with you and get out of the car to talk with you as you got into your car right next to mine.

 

Instead, I did what many people would do: I felt ashamed and humiliated and angry about your ignorance.

 

If I'd had the guts to talk with you, I would have told you about my disabled 28-year-old son living with us. We have never asked for public support for him.

 

But recently we have decided that it is our responsibility to introduce him to the programs that will have to support him when we are no longer here to care for him. We started small: He is eligible for food support, and he agreed to receive it to be able to feel that he is contributing his share to the food bill, since he is unable to work.

 

I know we looked like people you might think need EBT: a bit unkempt in sweatpants and T-shirts. If I'd had the guts to talk to you, I would have told you that I'd just had an emergency surgery and that my daughter came home from college five hours away to help for the weekend because my husband had scheduled surgery two days after mine. I haven't been able to put on real clothes yet, and I can't lift a bag of groceries.

 

I thought I could handle your disdain, since I am a professional working at a local corporation where I am surrounded every day by people who respect me and care about me. But it still made me feel a little dirty - unworthy - and I still went home and cried in the privacy of my shower so my family would not know I was hurt by you.

 

I am sorry I did not tell you all of this in person. What my daughter and I resolved is that we will never let my son (her brother) go to the store alone with his Electronic Benefits Transfer card and be subjected to this humiliation.

 

We all have our stories, and no one is any better than another. Everyone deserves the respect they want for themselves, even if they use an EBT card to pay for their groceries.

 

by on Sep. 16, 2013 at 11:45 AM
Replies (21-30):
JustCJ
by Silver Member on Sep. 16, 2013 at 12:35 PM

I think the statistics need to be rechecked. I'm conservative and poor. Very poor in fact. I know a lot of conservatives who are poor..hell, I don't know any rich ones personally.

I think there is a certain GOP stigma rich old men.

Quoting AtiFreeFalls:

Quoting JustCJ:

Yeh you had me till there's a sentiment among conservatives....Tell me, how does one that uses food stamps know the one judging is conservative? And how do we know the one using the food stamps isn't conservative?




Obviously not all conservatives hate the poor. But there most definitely IS a sentiment amongst conservatives that people on aid need to just pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Look on ANY PA post on here and see the usual suspects, conservative to a woman, denounce PA and blame the poor for the nation's problems.


LucyMom08
by Gold Member on Sep. 16, 2013 at 12:41 PM
Why?

Quoting SherryBerry106:

I couldn't read past the line that contained "social justice".

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
quickbooksworm
by Silver Member on Sep. 16, 2013 at 12:42 PM
3 moms liked this
My mom was the same way except she would not go on any form of assistance for anything. There was a time she was injured at work, waiting to settle out her workers comp claim, and she had $.53 to her name. But she would not do PA.


Quoting LNLMommy:

It's letters like this that make me think of my mother. She adopted me and was disabled (had breast cancer, scelroderma (that's spelled all types of wrong,), lupus and other health problems) but still worked as a sub teacher when Chemo allowed her to. She would be so ashamed to give the cashier food stamps and this was back before the EBT card. I never understood the big deal because we had to eat..my mom wasn't a bum and I was too young to udnerstand the taboo behind it. I honestly don't get why people will concern themselves with policing other people in stores and judging them about public assistance when at the the end of the day-those same people will walk past a hungry kid on the street. I don't have time to worry about the person ahead of me using food stamps because my taxes aren't going ot decrease if they cut out that program. I get nasty looks and comments when I'm out with all the kids because people like ot judge large families too. I've even had cashiers at certain grocery stores assume I am about to use EBT when buying groceries. It is what it is. I had a lady ask me if I was crazy to have so many kids and I looked at her and asked if if she planned on taking one home with her? If not-shut ya damn mouth. 


mamasfamilyof4
by on Sep. 16, 2013 at 12:43 PM
1 mom liked this

This woman has nothing to apologize for or explain her situation in regards to her using ebt or the food stamp booklets. Just like those who complain and judge others for their use of ebt or the food stamp booklets, she has to eat too.  People should not be so quick to judge, one never knows when the situation could change in their lives that they may need to rely on this assistance whether it's short or long term. Unfortunately my statement here won't stop it, but for those who find relief or some sort of satisfaction in standing behind those in a check out line and pointing out how they are paying for their groceies, they need to get a life and shut up, and continue on with their so called perfect lives.

LNLMommy
by Queen K on Sep. 16, 2013 at 12:45 PM
1 mom liked this

I think if it wasn't for me-she wouldn't have signed up for PA. I just hate that stigma attached. 

Quoting quickbooksworm:

My mom was the same way except she would not go on any form of assistance for anything. There was a time she was injured at work, waiting to settle out her workers comp claim, and she had $.53 to her name. But she would not do PA.


Quoting LNLMommy:

It's letters like this that make me think of my mother. She adopted me and was disabled (had breast cancer, scelroderma (that's spelled all types of wrong,), lupus and other health problems) but still worked as a sub teacher when Chemo allowed her to. She would be so ashamed to give the cashier food stamps and this was back before the EBT card. I never understood the big deal because we had to eat..my mom wasn't a bum and I was too young to udnerstand the taboo behind it. I honestly don't get why people will concern themselves with policing other people in stores and judging them about public assistance when at the the end of the day-those same people will walk past a hungry kid on the street. I don't have time to worry about the person ahead of me using food stamps because my taxes aren't going ot decrease if they cut out that program. I get nasty looks and comments when I'm out with all the kids because people like ot judge large families too. I've even had cashiers at certain grocery stores assume I am about to use EBT when buying groceries. It is what it is. I had a lady ask me if I was crazy to have so many kids and I looked at her and asked if if she planned on taking one home with her? If not-shut ya damn mouth. 



MomTiara19
by Bronze Member on Sep. 16, 2013 at 12:45 PM
3 moms liked this

So true...

I have an adult disabled family member that has food assistance.

I have had to buy their grocery using their EBT card.You can imagine the looks and thoughts....,wait a minute she has an Iphone,she drives a nice car,has a nice home...how is it possible????

How it is possible is that ....It isnt my card.I am grocery shopping for my disabled family member that cant drive or care for themselves and I am their guardian.

People just love to judge.I have no time to worry about their opinions.I have to care for my family member...they need me.

JustCJ
by Silver Member on Sep. 16, 2013 at 12:54 PM

As for the letter it almost sounds as if the author themself had the very same pre-concieved notions she spoke of in the letter. 

Sisteract
by Whoopie on Sep. 16, 2013 at 12:58 PM
3 moms liked this

In my experiences, these are usually the first people to fall apart when they hit any little bump in the road- seen it up close and personal. 

Quoting supercarp:

Conservatives who think food stamps are unnecessary are merely people whose life experiences are so limited that they can't conceive of true need. They may even be very religious but forgetful of Jesus' command to "love your neighbor as yourself." Or they may have been talked into conservatism by their selfish friends and family members.

I myself am fiscally conservative, but I recognize that people need help at times. Not all of their lives, but only at times.


Sisteract
by Whoopie on Sep. 16, 2013 at 1:00 PM
1 mom liked this

Yep I agree- Most of the conservatives that I know are on the lower end of the socio-economic ladder and many times on the education level too.

They want to be the rich, old man.

Quoting JustCJ:

I think the statistics need to be rechecked. I'm conservative and poor. Very poor in fact. I know a lot of conservatives who are poor..hell, I don't know any rich ones personally.

I think there is a certain GOP stigma rich old men.

Quoting AtiFreeFalls:

Quoting JustCJ:

Yeh you had me till there's a sentiment among conservatives....Tell me, how does one that uses food stamps know the one judging is conservative? And how do we know the one using the food stamps isn't conservative?




Obviously not all conservatives hate the poor. But there most definitely IS a sentiment amongst conservatives that people on aid need to just pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Look on ANY PA post on here and see the usual suspects, conservative to a woman, denounce PA and blame the poor for the nation's problems.



AlekD
by Gold Member on Sep. 16, 2013 at 1:07 PM
2 moms liked this

After Atticus was born we recieved WIC while we tried to pay off the medical bills. The first time I used the WIC checks was horrible. Of course I picked up all the wrong brands and stuff and I held up the line and everyone was glaring at me. I cried like a baby when I got to the car. It's humiliating. 

Another time though, I was using WIC checks and also had to pick up a few non-WIC things and I was a few dollars short for what I  needed and the lady behind me covered the difference and slipped a hundred dollar bill in one of my bags. I didn't find it until I got home. I also cried like a baby on that occasion. Hormones, haha. 

I don't usually notice how people pay at the grocery store. I'm usually busy tryong not to have a panic attack and keep Atticus from jumping out of the cart.

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