September 26, 2016

The Voice of a Welfare Child

I don't normally write serious posts. I don't usually touch on incendiary topics or anything that might be considered political. But I am now.


Why now? Well, I have been seeing a lot of welfare bashing going across the interwebs.
Like that people on welfare are:
Lazy
Stupid
Moochers
Good for nothings
Living off the hard workers of society


So now it’s OK to bully those in need? Do the people who say these things even have a clue of what it’s like to live in need? To be desperate?

If we view needing help as an embarrassment| Graphic by www.BakingInATornado.com for www.StacySewsandSchools.blogspot.com | #society #MyGraphics



Here’s the truth as I know it.


Because yes, I've lived it. I was a welfare child.


Let’s start with getting on welfare to start with. You have to meet all kinds of requirements. If you don't have a job, you have to be actively seeking one unless you are disabled or in school full time.


Most people on welfare are single parent families. They have children and/or the elderly. They are the disabled.


They are NOT single, able bodied people.


They can NOT buy anything with food stamps other than food.


They can NOT use food stamps to buy toiletries, diapers, etc.


See, that's the thing about welfare. Most people on it have NO OTHER CHOICE. They are not sitting around in the lap of luxury. They are just barely scraping by. BARELY.


People wonder why there are so many homeless. Well, because it is NOT easy to actually get welfare. And after a certain amount of time with no job you get booted off.


There is no further safety net for people on welfare.


Got robbed? Sorry, can't help you further.


Lost your stamps/money? Sorry, can't help you further.


This is not a secret, there are all kinds of statistics that show these things, but people really don't want to listen for some reason. I don't get it.


When people talk about getting rid of welfare all I can think about is what would have happened to me as a kid? To my family?  What would happen to ALL those kids, the disabled, the elderly that rely on it so much? Those who, at a specific time of their life honestly and truly just need help?  


So, here's what it's like for a child on welfare:


You don’t eat lunch after a certain grade because everyone knows who has free lunch and who doesn’t. It’s hard enough being in middle and high school without adding any extra stigmas to yourself.


You don’t get to participate in extracurricular activities. They cost too much and odds are your family may not have a car. Or they have a car but not enough money for gas.

Going to the library to do research for school was difficult. Mom didn't have a car and there was no public transportation in my small town.


Birthdays and Christmas can be very lean. I was lucky in that I had wonderful grandparents. But even then I can remember one particular birthday where the only thing I received was a pair of flip flops from Family Dollar. I’m not complaining. I know that I had it easier than most kids on welfare.


I was born in 1974 so when I was on welfare they still had the booklet of stamps. EVERYONE in the store knew what they were and what they were for. It was very embarrassing.


I didn’t have a VCR.


I sometimes had very basic cable and sometimes a phone.


I can remember one year, I was given a voucher for school clothes. I was so proud of those clothes! I was so very careful with them.


Too bad there wasn’t also a voucher for school supplies.


This was how I lived my life, this was my reality.


I can remember right before I turned 18 my mom had been robbed and then went right into the hospital. Mom had a mental illness. In fact, she didn’t even realize she was robbed until sometime after the fact.


There was no money, no food stamps and I was getting disconnect notices on the bills.
I remember my friend’s wonderful mom bringing me over a box of food.


I had to make decisions. Tough ones. Could I go to my grandmother and ask for money? I just couldn’t. My grandmother’s health wasn’t great, I was always afraid of upsetting her. 
 
And I knew I’d have to suffer the humiliation of going to her: my extended family would look even further down on me than they already did.


So I started calling the utility companies. Thankfully they all gave extensions and I let my mom deal with it all when she got out of the hospital.


I was so stressed and so scared.


What were you doing when you were about to turn 18?


Are there people who abuse the system? Yes, there are. But the vast majority do not. The actual amount of welfare fraud is extremely low because of all the documentation you are forced to present and hoops that you have to jump through. Not just to get on, but on a regular basis in order to stay on.


But you know what? Even if the statistics on fraud were higher, I would still be all for it.


Why?


I would MUCH rather my tax dollars go to feeding people than a bridge to nowhere, another war, another vacation for the fat cats who are trying to get rid of welfare.


And because I believe in children. I believe that when a family is in need you do not kick them when they’re down. You help them back up. 

Stacy Sews and Schools blog signature | www.StacySewsandSchools.blogspot.com

24 comments:

  1. I can feel your heartbeat in every word. You're right, there is so much waste in our government and the answer is not to take food out of the mouths of children in need. We need to be a society that helps families back up.

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  2. THIS! After the last pharmacy I worked at was shut down, I was left without a job and in need of help for awhile. Even knowing my situation, friends posted all the time about people on food stamps. I ended up cutting a lot of ignorance out of my life. Thanks for sharing this. People need to read it.

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    1. So sorry you went through that.
      I think a lot of the problem is that people want to believe the fiction. Because if it's not fiction they might have to actual do something to help. It's just easier for them that way.

      Delete
  3. We've been there ourselves. Unfortunately, always on the tip and never able to get any real help. I agree that those that get help have to jump through a lot of hoops to get on it; and even, sometimes, when you really need it, can't get it. I believe that the welfare system needs to stay in place and the spending needs to be cut elsewhere.

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    Replies
    1. Exactly!!!!
      Cut it where it won't hurt the people that are already struggling so badly.

      Delete
  4. God I love you! I, too, am a child of welfare. I, too, remember the booklet of food stamps. I, too, remember how lean birthdays and Christmas was, doubly so considering my birthday is 15 days before Christmas. People don't know....they just don't. Thank you for sharing your story.....💪❤💙💚💛💜💓💕💖💗💘💝💞💟👍✌☝👏

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  5. Thank you for sharing! My parents had it rough when I was younger too. My dad lost his job when I was in elementary school and just could not find another one. He was turned down for jobs because he was "overqualified". My parents were able to borrow some money from their parents but still needed some government assistance. We also got free lunch from school. We got things like powdered milk and blocks of cheese from the government. It wasn't my parents' proudest moment but you know what? We didn't go hungry. My dad found another job, out of state, and lived in a campground for a year while he worked there, waiting for our house to sell so we could all move. Poor people don't like being poor...it sucks! The idea that people are living it up on welfare is laughable, but some people are bitter about anyone being given something they aren't, even if they can't see how good they have it themselves. It's like someone telling a person who has been drowning their whole lives to get out on land and build themselves a life raft when they themselves have never even stuck their feet in the water. They just don't get it.

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    Replies
    1. That's exactly it. Love the way you worded it.

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  6. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. We don't receive help, but if something happened, and we missed a check, we'd be homeless. We only have one car and a strict gas budget. I worry about when Gigi starts school. How will we get her to and from?! It stinks being poor, but you make due. I have comfort knowing if anything goes very wrong, we could get help from Social Services. We aren't lazy, trashy people.

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    Replies
    1. That's the way it is for so many. People just don't realize.
      HUGS!!!!

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  7. Thank you for sharing. It's hard to ask for help and even harder with all the hoops you have to jump through. I was a single parent, barely making minimum wage and still couldn't get help.

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    1. That's where I find myself now. I get the bare minimum in food stamps and that is it. It's ridiculous.

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  8. Oh, my goodness! Everyone needs to read this--particularly those who think that welfare is for the lazy. Thank you for these heartfelt words of wisdom. I needed to hear them.

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  9. In Switzerland we are lucky to have low unemployment rates and an excellent social security system.
    Here too, some people loudly express their feelings of how others abuse this system, and I'm sure there are.
    The ones who really are eligible try not to apply for benefits because they are ashamed. I know many single moms who don't have money for the things you are talking about: toiletries, clothes, gas, gifts,... And authorities give them a hard time.
    I applaud everyone who gets up every morning and tries to make the best of it.
    Lots of hugs, Stacy, congratulations on posting this important piece of truth! ❤️

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  10. Thank you for sharing. It is hard to ask for help. There is such a stigma that goes along with the system. Some go without due to pride and others are not approved for help and desperately need it. Our system is a mess and our judgments get us in trouble and hurt those around us.

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  11. Welfare in Australia is slightly different to your system, but the same myths that all people on welfare are just lazy work dodgers persists. I was a welfare kid too, and so thankful that our government had help in place to keep a roof over our heads and food in our mouths. We didn't have many of life's little luxuries, but that just means I appreciate everything I have now even more. Thank you for sharing this and helping to dispel those myths.

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  12. Our family was on assistance for a while. I didn't like it, but it's what our family needed to get by. It's hard to get ahead when you start out miles behind the starting line!

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