Dear Prudence: I live in a rich neighbourhood, but most of the trick-or-treaters are poor. Do I have to give them candy?

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There have been some who have speculated that this Dear Prudence letter is made up for effect but I have heard comments from people where I live about how “Those trailer park people just cart them into the village by the van fulls.” I know this attitude certainly exists.

Originally posted on National Post | Arts:

Dear Prudence, 

I live in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, but on one of the more “modest” streets — mostly doctors and lawyers and family business owners. (A few blocks away are billionaires, families with famous last names, media moguls, etc.) I have noticed that on Halloween, what seems like 75% of the trick-or-treaters are clearly not from this neighborhood. Kids arrive in overflowing cars from less fortunate areas. I feel this is inappropriate. Halloween isn’t a social service or a charity in which I have to buy candy for less fortunate children. Obviously this makes me feel like a terrible person, because what’s the big deal about making less fortunate kids happy on a holiday? But it just bugs me, because we already pay more than enough taxes toward actual social services. Should Halloween be a neighborhood activity, or is it legitimately a free-for-all in which…

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After Years Without a Grocery Store, Greensboro Neighbors Are Building One Themselves—And They’ll Own It by Dave Reed — YES! Magazine

Fed up with essentially begging for access to quality food, residents of this predominantly African-American and low-income neighborhood decided to open their own grocery store.

via After Years Without a Grocery Store, Greensboro Neighbors Are Building One Themselves—And They’ll Own It by Dave Reed — YES! Magazine.

What Would a Real ‘Right to Work’ Look Like?

Originally posted on Notes on a Theory...:

I just asked this question on Twitter, and realized I wasn’t going to be able to explain it  in 140 characters.  So I thought I’d elaborate here. First, the question:

There has been a lot of talk about how we need to reframe the horribly inaptly named “right to work” laws, which essentially require unions to represent workers who refuse to join or otherwise support the union in any way.  Since no one is ever required to join a union, this whole framing in nonsense, a cover for a policy designed to weaken unions that can’t be defended on the merits.

‘Right to work for less’ is a common one, but it is fairly clunky.  I like the idea of ‘loafer laws’ or even better, ‘freeloader laws’…

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Nearly 19,000 homes’ daily water usage has been wasted for the Ice Bucket Challenge

Originally posted on crazy dumbsaint of the mind:

I’ve been challenged three times to do this Ice Bucket Challenge goodness that’s been happening on an Internet near you. No, I’m not accepting the challenge. Sorry. No, I’m not annoyed by all the videos clogging up my feed,  as some random person I don’t even know suggested.My annoyance mostly  comes from people and their hurt feelings when I’ve pointed out some things about the challenge itself I find problematic. I really don’t have time for people having hurt feelings when their privilege is pointed out.

Let me get this out of the way right here. ALS is a terrible disease. I personally do not know a single person affected by it nor do I have the disease itself but I’m aware that the disease is awful. I think the pharmaceutical companies probably have better treatments they could be development that they choose not to (and that’s the same for…

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“The grinding poverty in Mike’s world only allowed Normandy High School to acquire two graduation gowns to be shared by the entire class. …”

The grinding poverty in Mike’s world only allowed Normandy High School to acquire two graduation gowns to be shared by the entire class. The students passed a gown from one to the other. Each put the gown on, in turn, and sat before the camera to have their graduation photographs taken. Until it was Mike’s turn.

But Mike wouldn’t be graduating in May with the rest of his class. There were additional class credits he needed to acquire and final exams yet to pass. So, Mike worked throughout the summer, every single day, to earn that diploma. According to his teacher, John Kennedy, Mike pushed himself hard:

Mike Brown didn’t have it easy, Kennedy said.

At the school’s alternative program, Kennedy was always the first one in the building. The place would be empty. He’d unlock the doors at 7 a.m. and he’d always find Brown standing there, smiling. Classes didn’t start until 8 a.m. But Brown was there. First one in the door.

On Tuesday, Kennedy, who has taught at Normandy for 19 years, struggled to reconcile that memory with how his former student was now part of a national debate, his death the spark for unrest in the streets. It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this. Not for Mike Brown.

This is a brief glimpse of Michael Brown’s life and achievements. In a haunting Facebook post, just days before his murder, Mike Brown wrote:  “If I leave this earth today, at least you’ll know I care about others more than my damn self.”


His death is another issue entirely and can only be understood against of the backdrop of poverty and racism in America. There are plenty of discussions going on here and across the nation about that.

None of these discussions will change anything in America any more than the endless discussions about Sandy Hook changed anything. It’s war. The American Civil war. And it has been raging for 160 years.

The question then arises:  “Why bother to blog about it? What is the point?”

Quite coincidentally, I ran across a statement today on another blog, where the owner answered that question. I was very moved by what he had to say:

Today is my 70th birthday. That means for me that it is time to think about the last part of my life….

My generation has left an awful legacy to the young. As you well know dear Reader, there is little that any one person can do to change things….

But, life is fluid and even tiny changes in one part of the universe can affect other parts in ways we cannot possibly comprehend.

When we act, we do it because we hope and believe that a known effect or effects might come from our actions.

So it is with no more than faith that I throw my blog, this tiny pebble in the ocean of human thought, hoping that somehow, something I say may indeed make it better for generations to come.

Therefore, I am going to throw The Tiny Pebble, below, into the ocean of opinions about whether or not the US and its militarized police are engaged in a civil war against minorities and the poor in America.

Who knows? It might make a difference.

 via UPDATE: Gentle Giant Michael Brown — ANON releases Dispatch tapes from Brown murder. Live..

$28 cabbage, $65 chicken, and other insane food prices in Northern Canada

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Originally posted on Grist:

Nunavut is the edge of the world in a lot of ways — it’s the farthest-north part of Canada, a broken-up spray of frozen land coming off the top of the country like a very icy mohawk. In terms of land mass, it’s bigger than any other Canadian province or territory, with an area the size of Western Europe, but its population (mostly Inuit) is smaller than Berkeley’s — and I mean the university, not the town.

So it’s remote, and cold, and sparsely settled, but none of that really explains why food is so outrageously expensive that the basic necessities of life are beyond normal people’s reach. Now, the locals are starting to get fed up (not literally, because they can’t afford it), and they’re agitating for government attention to their unsustainable cost of living. Cabbage that costs $28? Chicken for $65 a pound? They’re having Nunavut. (Sorry.) (Not…

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How to help


Em wrote the guest post awhile back here about being food stamp judged while buying food for her sick daughter. The family could really use your support right now. If you are able and looking for a way to pay forward generosity you’ve received in the past, please consider donating. Thank you!

Originally posted on Crazy Weird and Queer Family:

Dear readers,

Some of you know that this year has sucked.  BIG TIME sucked.  Every time I think we are getting back on our feet another wave brings us under.

It started last September.  My daughter was complaining of a headache, nausea and vomiting, running a fever etc.  Being a kid with neutropenia, we took her to the ER.  For the first time ever, her white count was high.  It got even more bizarre when her thumb swelled.  Later, we found out the she had a condition known as osteomyelitis and septic arthritis.  She went septic and almost died.

Then, the house that we were living in literally collapsed forcing us to move.  We had to leave most of our things behind.  we lived with family for about a month before securing new housing.  People helped us replace many of the things we lost and we thought hell was finally…

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I’ll be back soon….


Hey,there, all you awesome Poor as Folk readers. I just wanted to let everyone know that I’ll be taking a little hiatus from this blog, probably for the next month or so.

When I return, there will be a couple changes to how I’ll be using this blog and other social media. Such as:


· Expect to see more content put into print zine form & e-reader form.

There will also still be regular content just on the blog, usually regarding current events but some content already here on the blog will be polished and expanded upon to be published in print form.A lot of new content will be available this way exclusively. Since the purpose of this blog is to support low income people, the cost will typically be a “pay what you can” system (including an absolutely  free option).


· The Facebook page will be retired BUT you don’t need Facebook to read this blog.


If you use Facebook to keep track of this blog and you don’t follow too many others, you can use the link on the sidebar to subscribe by email.

A really valuable tool for people who read more than a few blogs is a feed aggregator, or feed reader. The huge advantage of using a feed reader over Facebook to keep track of what you read is that you will always see the content you want to see as it’s updated. You open your feed reader and everything you like is on your feed. No algorithm hides anything or shows you what it thinks you want to see. And of course, because it’s a private account, no one else can see what blogs you follow.
I use feedly, which I find to be really easy to organize into categories (parenting,gardening,geekery,art,etc) and here’s a good tutorial that explains how to use feedly if you’re new at this. There are also other feed readers,too, if feedly doesn’t work out for you.

You could also do the old-school method of bookmarking the page in your browser and checking back from time to time. People still do that, right?

During this break, I’ll still be using my Twitter like I do everyday  and you can feel free to follow me there. I tried for awhile to keep tweets there related to things I’d talk about here on the blog but since I’m a fully formed human and all, it was hard to just talk about one thing. So, that’s just a heads up for would be followers that I talk about PAF stuff there but also might talk about my kids or what book I just read that probably has nothing to do with food or being poor.

So, I’ll see ya’ll soon! In the meantime, if Twitter isn’t your thing and you need to get in touch with me, there are other ways to contact me listed at the link on top of the blog.  Be good and stay awesome, everyone.