I also grew up poor but my family did whatever it took and never went on assistance. I remember times when my mom would not eat and we also grew up with the mentality that if you did not grow it, catch it, or hunt it you didn't eat it. I am very grateful that my family taught me certain life skills which I used to work 2 jobs while putting myself through college. I was the first in my family to graduate from college. I have a great job that allows me to provide for my family in ways I never had as a child and I try to give back all year. Giving back means a lot to me as I remember being a child in need and now I am the mother of 3 children who at one time were in need. Our 3 children are adopted from the foster care system and at one point in their lives they were not given food nor had a christmas. Our 12 year old still deals with food issues as he was starved when he was 2. Our 14 year old has a scar down his stomach because when he was 5 he was hungry and his birth mom was passed out on the couch and so he decided to make himself mac and cheese. Well he was standing on a chair over the pot of boiling water and got hot so he tried to take his shirt off and hit the pot and boling water dumped on his bare belly. Due to their birth situations when we adopted our children we made the deicion that my husband would stay home with our children so they would have constant care and know that someone would always be there for them. Our DS12 has some pretty severe mental health issues as well so it was necessary for someone to be home to address any issues that may come up. Please keep in mind that sometimes when a parent decides to stay at home, even if it means being on assistance, it could be because there is a mental health issue with a child. These issues can be severe and as a parent you could be called to come pick your child up from school and depending on your job situation if you end up leaving you lose your job. Again we are blessed that I make enough income to provide for my family but there are a lot of people where this is not possible. Thank you OP for a great topic!