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Old 11-03-2013, 08:11 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Viva Las Disney View Post
I always get a kick out of these threads because both sides are right, there are very needy people and there are also people gaming the system.

A few years ago I volunteered with a friend whose church (Dream Center of Las Vegas) has a huge Thanksgiving festival in one the poorest parts of Las Vegas, to this day it ranks as one of the best and worst days of my life. It was an amazing experience because there were barbers, they set up portable shower tents, there were several semi trailers of donated clothes, health products, toys, and school supplies, there is a street carnival with bounce houses and little kid rides, tons of bagged food, and then there is a huge outdoor thanksgiving dinner. Lots of smiles and lots of tears of joy. It was a terrible experience because I wasn't prepared for just how bad off many of the people who came were. There were people who didn't have shoes or whose shoes were full of holes, there were people who hadn't had a shower in weeks, there were little kids with clothes that were filthy and torn, there were people who hadn't had a hair cut in years. These are people who truly need help.

On the other hand I've also seen my share of fraud, or at least what appears to be blatant fraud. The most memorable for me was standing behind a lady with an overflowing cart of food at the grocery store who paid with an EBT card, I know she used an EBT card because it was a couple hundred dollars worth of food and whatever didn't qualify got set aside so she could pay cash for it, in the parking lot I saw her loading all that food into a new Escalade, I have a pretty nice car but loading my groceries, that I work my butt off for, into my 6 year old $25k (when new) car while she loaded up her "free groceries" into her new $70k luxury SUV made me want to scream. These are the people that ruin it for the truly needy.
See but that was the point - yes the car could have been hers but you don't know- if people judged my friend and neighbor yesterday on what they saw, they would have seen a married lady with six kids hop out of a new higher end mini-van. Even further looking and you would know her husband hadn't worked in years. His injuries are mostly in the lower half of his body (and ptsd) and not completely obvious- it would be easy to think he is some lazy deadbeat not a man who risked it all for his country.
Back when I was a single mom there were a few months I had my parent's Mercedes. They didn't want me driving in an unreliable car and I needed to wait a few more months to get something. My kids still had the designer clothes grandma bought for them, and my oldest who was only 5 at the time had a cell phone so she could contact me if her dad didn't show up to pick her up etc. (which happened) and I had one because my youngest had health problems and I needed to have a phone on me at all times. I didn't use government assistance or the food bank, and I worked my a** off, but our shelves were still bare and things were really tough. Many nights I didn't eat because I was worried that my girls wouldn't have something the next day if I did. I can't imagine how I would have been judged had I gone to the food bank, in a Mercedes with my well dressed children and cell phones. But there is no doubt that I could have used the help.
Funny thing is those that look the best at first glance may be in just the type of intermittent trouble that a lot of programs were meant to help you through.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:17 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Northernlites View Post
Your view is better than mine, it sounds like the individuals at your area food bank need the help.

I drive by a bus stop that is located in front of the food bank in my city. I drive by every weekday. I see adults in their 20s, and 30s who have their food bank bags on the floor of the bus shelter because they are always texting on their phone with one hand and have a cigarette in the other.

I live in Canada where cell phone service ($150 a month minimum) and cigarettes ($90 a carton) are very expensive.

I believe the people who really need the help often don't get the food and the others are using the local food bank to allow them spending money for their vices.

Last year on the news there was video of families lined up for their turkey and toy basket for Christmas. I noticed as did my coworkers that everyone in the shot had a phone in their hand.
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Where exactly do you live in Canada where you're paying $150/mth in cell phone bills?? I'm in Ontario, and I have an iPhone through Bell and pay $40/mth. It's my only phone as I was paying $35 for my landline! I don't think having a cell phone is indicative of not needing assistance. Now, the ones who come into my government office to pick up their monthly cheques, wearing designer jeans, shoes, etc and carrying Coach bags...maybe.
Ya, I agree with alc571. I also live in Ontario and middle of the road service is $40-$50/month. I have a prepaid and it only costs me $12.50/month.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:24 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by pocomom View Post
See but that was the point - yes the car could have been hers but you don't know- if people judged my friend and neighbor yesterday on what they saw, they would have seen a married lady with six kids hop out of a new higher end mini-van. Even further looking and you would know her husband hadn't worked in years. His injuries are mostly in the lower half of his body (and ptsd) and not completely obvious- it would be easy to think he is some lazy deadbeat not a man who risked it all for his country.
Back when I was a single mom there were a few months I had my parent's Mercedes. They didn't want me driving in an unreliable car and I needed to wait a few more months to get something. My kids still had the designer clothes grandma bought for them, and my oldest who was only 5 at the time had a cell phone so she could contact me if her dad didn't show up to pick her up etc. (which happened) and I had one because my youngest had health problems and I needed to have a phone on me at all times. I didn't use government assistance or the food bank, and I worked my a** off, but our shelves were still bare and things were really tough. Many nights I didn't eat because I was worried that my girls wouldn't have something the next day if I did. I can't imagine how I would have been judged had I gone to the food bank, in a Mercedes with my well dressed children and cell phones. But there is no doubt that I could have used the help.
Funny thing is those that look the best at first glance may be in just the type of intermittent trouble that a lot of programs were meant to help you through.
Exactly. I think people forget that there is a lot of short-term use of social programs, and if recipients in that group often have nice things because they were - until a layoff or injury or divorce - a "normal" middle class family. And often there is family behind the scenes offering support. One of the poorest families I've ever known has very well dressed kids, not designer or really high-end but decked in middle class brands like Gymboree, Gap, etc. Why? Because they have a grandmother who remembers her own children being bullied at school over their thrift shop finds and hand-me-downs, and who buys school clothes for the whole family so that her grandkids don't experience the same. Most everything is second-hand, but you wouldn't know that to see them in the grocery store.

I think in most cases, the outrage against those who don't look poor enough is misplaced. In my experience those are the families that were middle class and are busting their ***** to get back to middle class. The families that most upset me are those who totally look the part - the woman with 5 kids by 3 fathers none of whom pay support, the family with an alcoholic breadwinner who can't hold a job, and others who are more or less resigned to always being poor and needing assistance. To me that's much more troubling that someone who didn't pawn their iPhone or hit Goodwill for a "poor" wardrobe when they needed assistance with a temporary financial situation.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:45 AM   #34
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So she had groceries and cigarettes on the belt. She also had dog food. Because she had two big sled dogs from earlier in her life, and she wasn't willing to give them away or kill them during our personal economic downturn. She also wasn't working; figured that staying home with us for a couple years was good for us (she made a good decision there).
OK- now staying home with the kids for a few years is a fine thing but not if you are on public assistance to do it! I know plenty of people who would love to stay home with their kids but know that they can't do it financially. I don't think expecting the taxpayers to pay for you to stay home with your kids is a "good decision"! When I got pregnant (I was single and it was planned) people asked me if I was going to keep working- I just looked at them like they were nuts and I said "well its work or welfare so there is no decision there!" There is no way I would take any kind of public assistance to stay at home with a child!
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:54 AM   #35
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Keep in mind that foster parents get food stamps on EBT. that woman in the Escalade could have opened her home to kids with no where else to go, and she has every right to both the food stamps and her Escalade.
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Old 11-03-2013, 09:12 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by pocomom View Post
See but that was the point - yes the car could have been hers but you don't know-
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Keep in mind that foster parents get food stamps on EBT. that woman in the Escalade could have opened her home to kids with no where else to go, and she has every right to both the food stamps and her Escalade.
Good points, I was so frustrated with the whole situation it hadn't even dawned on me it might not be her car or those groceries may be for another reason like foster kids. It's just hard not to judge with all the waste we see everyday in business and government.
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Old 11-03-2013, 10:15 AM   #37
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I volunteer at a local food pantry. Yes, most of the people you see have cell phones. If they qualify for food stamps, they qualify for a free pre-paid cell phone. If the government wanted to give me a pre-paid phone, I wouldn't turn it down either.
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Old 11-03-2013, 10:23 AM   #38
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DH is taking his Cub den up to the local food bank next Saturday. They are filling bags for the clients to pick up. They are also sorting items, doing some basic cleaning (wiping down shelves, etc), and learning that giving is not only about money, but about time and effort as well.
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Old 11-03-2013, 10:27 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Northernlites View Post

Last year on the news there was video of families lined up for their turkey and toy basket for Christmas. I noticed as did my coworkers that everyone in the shot had a phone in their hand.
They do a toy thing every year here in Jacksonville. No financial qualifications, just show up--with the kids--and pick up your toys. It's always a mob scene and people go through multiple times.

When I was out of work, and the only work DH could find was contract stuff, we seriously thought about going to it. The company that DH was contracting through came through for us though; they adopt a family every year and get presents/holiday meal/etc for the family...and that year they picked us, since they knew otherwise there was nothing under the tree. So grateful for them still.
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:04 PM   #40
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OP, it is nice to get reminders like this

No one really knows anyone else's situation. I do not judge. I highly agree with helping others in any way you can!
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:10 PM   #41
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Keep in mind that foster parents get food stamps on EBT. that woman in the Escalade could have opened her home to kids with no where else to go, and she has every right to both the food stamps and her Escalade.
Absolutely! Thank you for pointing this out!

I used to foster care an infant - we got a very small stipend to care for the child. The child came with an EBT card (food stamps) to pay for the formula that Wic did not cover. We drive a nice car. My mom has an Escalade. There were times I could have been with her, and being judged. People need to lighten up unless they know the situation!
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:19 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by pocomom View Post
See but that was the point - yes the car could have been hers but you don't know- if people judged my friend and neighbor yesterday on what they saw, they would have seen a married lady with six kids hop out of a new higher end mini-van. Even further looking and you would know her husband hadn't worked in years. His injuries are mostly in the lower half of his body (and ptsd) and not completely obvious- it would be easy to think he is some lazy deadbeat not a man who risked it all for his country. Back when I was a single mom there were a few months I had my parent's Mercedes. They didn't want me driving in an unreliable car and I needed to wait a few more months to get something. My kids still had the designer clothes grandma bought for them, and my oldest who was only 5 at the time had a cell phone so she could contact me if her dad didn't show up to pick her up etc. (which happened) and I had one because my youngest had health problems and I needed to have a phone on me at all times. I didn't use government assistance or the food bank, and I worked my a** off, but our shelves were still bare and things were really tough. Many nights I didn't eat because I was worried that my girls wouldn't have something the next day if I did. I can't imagine how I would have been judged had I gone to the food bank, in a Mercedes with my well dressed children and cell phones. But there is no doubt that I could have used the help. Funny thing is those that look the best at first glance may be in just the type of intermittent trouble that a lot of programs were meant to help you through.
Thank you for your post, we all need reminders not to judge. And I at one time was in a similar situation. Reading your post and remembering caused me to really stop and be thankful for the life I have now and to do more for others who are in need. May you be blessed today!!!
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:23 PM   #43
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These judgements are what make me cringe whe I go food shopping for my MIL. Mil was an alcoholic and did nothing in her life, my dh had to go to work at age 12 to feed himself. We take care of her now, she refuses to go to an assisted living place. So I shop for her and take care of her daily needs and meds. I cannot allow her to shop because she would buy all cake and candy on the first of the month and have nothing left for the rest of the month. Yes, she gets food stamps and I use the card to buy her food. I hate to think what people are thinking when I get into my car after using the card...
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:29 PM   #44
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These judgements are what make me cringe whe I go food shopping for my MIL. Mil was an alcoholic and did nothing in her life, my dh had to go to work at age 12 to feed himself. We take care of her now, she refuses to go to an assisted living place. So I shop for her and take care of her daily needs and meds. I cannot allow her to shop because she would buy all cake and candy on the first of the month and have nothing left for the rest of the month. Yes, she gets food stamps and I use the card to buy her food. I hate to think what people are thinking when I get into my car after using the card...
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This. There are a lot of elderly and disabled that receive a very modest amount of food stamps and their family often does their shopping. Another great example of how we do not always know the entire story.
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:51 PM   #45
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Very well written message OP! Things are not always as they appear. Too bad others immediately went on to judge.

I grew up in a family where we went to a private school (borrowed from grandparents to help ay tuition) and needed the food pantry at times to get by. My mother and father each worked but also had periods of lay-offs.
We qualified for food stamps even when my father was employed, but didn't apply for them. Mom helped out at the pantry too and also donated tutoring to kids who needed it as she highly valued education. All three of us kids went to college the oldest with a Masters degree and attended ivy league schools with full scholarships. She never would have gotten into these schools without the private education she received. I have a doctorate and own my own business where we do a massive food drive yearly (4000lbs of food) to help our community. My younger sister also went to a prestigious college and owns her own business and donates a lot of her time to support the community in various ways.

To look at us growing up, you couldn't always SEE the need, but it was definitely there. Many times taking cold showers because we couldn't pay the electric bill on time. And my mom smoked too, but should her kids not eat because she was addicted to cigarettes? She paid her price for that when she lost her life at 66yrs young. We gave way more than we took and continue to do so, but were truly thankful for the support we received.
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