I didn’t ever anticipate that I would one day be a single mom of five children. Being a single parent is always hard, but being on public assistance is even worse. The looks you get, the comments you hear. “I bet she keeps having kids to get more free handouts.” “Wow, that’s a lot of food.” Well, I do have a lot of mouths to feed. As a parent, you want to give your kids what they like and want.
Being a food stamp recipient is not easy. I would always feel like a burden when I used it or tried to hide it so no one could see what I was using to pay. I always felt like I was being judged with every item that ran across the scanner. What were people thinking? “Why is this woman buying five boxes of toaster strudels and two gallons of ice cream? Oh my GAWD, she’s paying with FOOD STAMPS?” These people didn’t know that I was a struggling single mom. They didn’t know they I worked every little job I could find. They didn’t know that my ex, the father of my children, was in prison and I was getting no child support. They didn’t know how my children’s faces lit up when I told them we were having the rare treat of ice cream for dessert.
Most people don’t like asking for help. There are SO many reasons why someone would even need food stamps. People lose their spouse and an entire income. Parents are single parenting with no financial help. Elderly cannot work anymore. People become foster parents. YES, even people who aren’t your stereotypical POOR PERSON can get food stamps. Just because someone falls on hard times and needs public assistance that is there for, you know, the public, doesn’t mean you get to tear them down. What ever happened to people lifting those up who fall on hard times? Wouldn’t you rather your precious tax dollars go to a child’s monthly bowl of ice cream rather than that highway that won’t be finished for ten years anyway?
Thankfully I have found a wonderful man who I have married. I am no longer a struggling, single mom. I am moving forward in life and looking forward to putting all of the hardships in my past, but don’t ever think that I will forget how little it made me feel. Can you imagine feeling bad for feeding your family? What has this world come to where we feel such great shame for needing a little help to provide a basic necessity for our family? There’s no reason to put any stranger down for any use of public assistance and it is NEVER your place to judge how they use it. You never know what is going on in their life.