I’m Sorry

I have not posted in about three weeks. We have continued to closely monitor our food budget, but this month, honestly, we didn’t have a choice. Dave travelled for an important (and expensive) education opportunity and a couple weeks later, his work structure changed dramatically and unexpectedly. Don’t get me wrong, we’re fine. That’s what our savings account is for, but my perspective has shifted considerably.
This “project” is weighing heavily on me right now. As I follow the story of reduction of SNAP benefits, the tears won’t stay away. I am embarrassed to have received media attention for my family’s experiment into what is a reality for millions of people in our country. And where is their attention?
I had a conversation with a couple recently that was so rife with misunderstanding and stereotypes, it broke my heart. It went something like this. “So you could really help people who are on food stamps! You could teach the moms and dads, well, moms really, since most of those dads are long gone, how to cook healthy meals! And you could tell them what they could buy instead of all that junk food.” As we talked about food deserts and transportation issues, they assured me that “Oh, I’m sure they can find a ride. They get a ride when they want to go buy cigarettes or drugs.”
And this is what so many people (our congressmen and women, included) seem to think of those receiving food assistance. If they thought otherwise, I don’t see how they could have possibly allowed benefits to decrease from about $1.50 per meal per person to $1.40 per meal per person. What would you feed your family for this amount of money?!
Food pantries and soup kitchens are overwhelmed and the general attitude seems to be, “Screw those people who are lazy and just taking advantage of the system.”
What started out as an attempt to educate myself has started to feel very heavy and sad and I’m trying to think of how to make it into an opportunity to make a difference.
It is really hard to feed the four of us on $16.50 a day. The adjusted budget would be about $15.35 a day and I feel defeated. I don’t feel like I can make it work and I don’t have to. I feel like a white lady of modest means making a game out of what 1 in 10 Virginians are dealing with. If I were on food stamps and came across this blog, I’d want to tell me to go shove my bean soup somewhere.
So I am going to take some time to think about how to make this project right. We will continue to eat healthy food in a mindful and grateful way. And I would encourage all of you to not forget those who are hungry, through no fault of their own. Contact your congressional representative and urge them to think about how a reduction in food benefits has such a crippling effect on so many of our already-vulnerable population. Drop off some stuff at your local Food Bank. Be kind to each other, please?
Thank you for taking the time to read this.


3 thoughts on “I’m Sorry

  1. You started this project to raise awareness. Seems like that’s happening. Life is a road that doesn’t always take us to the place we thought we were going, and is hardly ever the straightest easiest fastest trip. Good luck to you and Dave.

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