ICYMI: #changetheconversation, food demand at food banks higher than ever, Utah is giving homeless people homes,and issues that affect transgender people

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I know. My graphic is off center. I’ll fix it when I get my laptop fixed and don’t have to fight for time on a computer.

 

What Happens When the Poor Receive a Stipend? - More reiteration of what happens when poor people are given money.“You feel controlled by the world when you’re poor,” she said. “That was simply no longer the case.”

Eating local isn’t just trendy – it can help stop poverty - As Viki Sonntag of Sustainable Seattle has found, “Shifting 20 percent of food dollars into local direct spending creates enormous multiplier effects. Spending $100 at a locally owned restaurant generates $79 for surrounding local businesses, whereas spending $100 at a nationally franchised chain restaurant generates only $31 of income for surrounding businesses.”

David Brooks’ Utter Ignorance About Inequality -Refresher: David Brooks is that journalist who tried to make poverty a moral issue,not an economic one…among other things.
Robert Reich is like, “Oh,hell no. Sit down and let the real thinkers talk.”

UN World Food Program www.wfp.org Central African Republic: 9 Hunger Facts -Looking at food scarcity in Central African Republic: 2.6 million people need assistance, 60% have no food stocks available, 94% of communities don’t have enough seed for the next planting season,and aid is tricky to deliver because of security & safety to humanitarian workers.

Utah is Ending Homelessness by Giving People Homes -instead of criminalizing homelessness and maltreating homeless people like Captain Hammer in Hawaii did, Utah is giving homeless people apartments. Check out this comment thread for other cities doing similar.

4.8 million people will still not have healthcare coverage thank to jerkwad states who won’t expand medicaid.

What if we cared about those living in poverty as much as we care about celebrities?
#ChangeTheConversation
via Woodgreen Community Services – Youth Settlement Services

“Being poor is not a crime:” transforming the struggle for housing rights worldwide | From singing in New York courtrooms to gluing door locks in Berlin: the struggle to protect housing rights is about more than bricks and mortar.

Poverty affects more women than men in US - yep. Now what do we do about that?

Sounds like a threat to me, especially when you can be a wage slave and still be hungry.

Demand for Food Never Higher in West Michigan-”This is the classic dilemma of American poverty: Without a job, a client has to turn to food pantries and public assistance; when she finds a job, she loses her public assistance and sometimes winds up with less than she had before; either way, she doesn’t have enough to get by. For many, the work requirements included in the House’s version of the Farm Bill could turn this situation into a true catch-22: by making food assistance available only to those who make too much to qualify for it.”
And it’s everywhere.

 

If you wear jeans, you’re not a woman: Transphobia at women’s shelters-22% of trans women reported experiencing domestic violence due to being transgender. 19% of respondents had been homeless at some point in their lives, a number which rose to 48% among those who had suffered domestic violence. And once in a shelter, At least one in four trans women in shelters have been physically or sexually assaulted while residing at the shelter.

March of Tigers – QPoC Domestic Violence Resources and Literature  -Domestic Violence shelters for Queer and Trans* People of Color in all 50 United States. This list will also contain reading resources with tools for addressing abuse and domestic violence in queer communities. Please add more if necessary.

ICYMI: Lots of low income & food stamp budget friendly recipe links

A round up of the stuff you may have missed this past week.

 

Food & Recipes

How to get kids to eat vegetables | No Ordinary Homestead -I used to be a pre-school teacher. One of the things I found thru my own experience teaching as well as raising my own children is that if kids participate in cooking & growing the food, they are much more likely to eat it.
And not surprisingly, tons of research confirms

Social Supermarkets -”In a nutshell, Social Supermarkets are markets that take surplus from other stores {items that are about to expire, are dented, mislabeled, etc.} and sell them at significant discounts to patrons who need some sort of economic assistance, instead of tossing them into the trash.”

Real Food Recipes to Replace Your Favorite Junk Foods - how to transform your fave “junky” recipes to real food ones. My tip: Don’t be intimidated by recipes that call for ingredients you’ve never heard or can’t find in your area. I’m an experienced cook and I had to google what an ingredient was yesterday lol
Totally use goggle when you are trying to find a substitute for an ingredient that is too expensive or hard to find.
(For example: Peanut butter or Sun Butter is a pretty decent sub for tahini)

25 Easy Crock Pot Dessert Recipes - Mmmmm, desserts.

100+ 30 Minute (or less) Meal Ideas for the Busy Cook | Love Bakes Good Cakes -Quick,easy…and a lot of them look pretty frugal,too.

Freezer Friendly | Well Rounded NY -budget friendly.

Frugality Gal: $1 Dinner: Super Cheap Meal to Make for a Lazy Night - It’s a group turkey-macaroni dish. Total cost $1.15 (her onions & peps were free,though)

90 Meals For $1.25 Per Serving (or Less!) – Daily Deals Blog - I was so confused because I scrolled down to the bottom and only saw 30. There’s 30 recipes for each meal.

1 Organic Chicken, 22 Healthy Meals, $49 Bucks  - There were skeptics when I posted this on my social media. I’ll have to experiment with it myself, maybe after the hollerdaze.

Secret Freegan scored all this food to donate to a teen shelter. Otherwise, it would be slated for trash.

 

 

Thrifty Living & DIY

A Thrifted and Thrifty Gifts Discussion: You Giving Thrifted Gifts? + Gift Wrap Ideas -I’m a big fan of thrifted giving. It’s about the only kind I do. Well, besides handmade.

5 Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season –           I like this list for several reasons. Mindful donations, caring for people and the planet, and practical things nearly everyone can do.
I was happy to see Treecycling. I collect them from the neighborhood & drag them into the woods. #goofypaganlady

 Literacy Launchpad: 20 Places to Find Free Children’s Books Online - A good resource for families w/ Internet connection at home but can’t make it to the library when they’re open to take out actual books.

25 Ways to Naturally Clean with Salt ~ * THE COUNTRY CHIC COTTAGE  - Non-toxic. Cheap. And you can use food stamps to buy it. It works,too. I had coffee stains on my counter and salt totally worked.

Articles & Thoughts

Iowa wants its poor to give up smoking and drinking to qualify for Medicaid - “A single person at 50 percent of the poverty line makes less than $500 per month. That’s obviously not someone who can afford even a nickel in extra expenses. But that was the income level in Iowa’s initial application, which means that for all practical purposes the original goal of this program was to (a) deny government benefits to poor people who are smokers, drinkers, drug users, or overweight, but (b) provide the benefits if these poor people agree to fairly intrusive government monitoring that ensures they improve these behaviors.”

Study: Over 21 Million U.S. Households Can’t Afford Their Rent - yeah.

 

Activism & Awareness

Campaign Aims to Get Cell Phones to Survivors: Donations Wanted - If you have an old cell phone laying around, consider donating it to this program. They help domestic violence victims have a lifeline to help when they need it.

 

Transgender workers are nearly four times more likely than the population as a whole to have a household income of less than $10,000. It’s absolutely important to address how poverty and trans issues intersect. Check out http://transequality.org/ for more info.

When Drones Guard the Pipeline – Militarizing Fossil Fuels in the East By Winona LaDuke with Frank Molley.http://bit.ly/16cjzqz

Staff from the Chicago Bulls are spending the afternoon volunteering at the Food Depository! Thank you! They’re also fighting hunger with the Social Donation Plate. Check it out at www.thedonationplate.org.

 

Sharing is caring…so don’t donate to The Salvation Army.

Or single mothers who need help

I’ve been telling people for years, “Please don’t put money in those red Salvation Army kettles.” It had nothing to do with that hateful Salvation Army rep who proclaimed that gays deserve to die or any other LGBT issue but being a person that falls under the umbrella of the label, it  certainly doesn’t help my opinion of that church organization. Plus, LGBT people are more likely to be poor than heterosexual and cisgendered  people in America. Charities are supposed to want to help poor people.

I used to be quite involved volunteering  for a local domestic violence shelter. I would get a phone call about once a week from the shelter coordinator. She would give me a list of things they needed. ASAP. Women ,both with and without children, would come to the shelter with literally only the clothes on their backs. Maybe they had a small diaper bag ready to go with a change of clothes,some diapers, a bottle but usually they didn’t.

As women settled in to the shelter, they needed proper clothing for going to job interviews. The kids needed clothes to go to school.

When the women were ready to leave the shelter and move in to a place of their own, they had no real belongings to set up a household. Not just no furniture but pots,pans,dishes,utensils,towels,bedding…
The things you need to make a household function & take care of yourself & family.

The domestic violence agency depended on donations from the community since they had no real budget to help buy clothing ,let alone things needed to set up a household. The most helpful source of non-private individual donations was Catholic Charities. The worst by far was The Salvation Army.
If they did agree to give a family a voucher, they were allowed : one cup,one spoon,one fork,one plate per person. No beds or even just a mattress. Not even sheets,towels,blankets. They could choose some clothing but I don’t remember how much.  I’ve seen the large volume of donations made to the Salvation Army in my area. In fact, they send thousands of pounds of clothing to other countries.They could spare plenty for a family in need. They chose not to.

This wasn’t isolated to just the women trying to regain her life after domestic violence. I also mentored a lot of teen parents and the help they were given was the same. From what I saw personally, your house had to burn down to get any help from The Salvation Army. Or maybe your husband died just before Christmas. You could get some pity charity then.

They were also very clear that NO CASH GRANTS be given to families or individuals. The Salvation Army has a reputation of the place you go for thrifty shopping. The times I shopped there in the past, I did not find it affordable at all. I know that in part the high (to me) prices are because I live in a college town where an Ivy League University has residence and the SA prices things to take full advantage of wealthy student clientele base.  I don’t know where the Salvation Army profits go specifically but I know it’s not directly to families who need help. It seems that The Salvation Army tends to make themselves front and center when disaster and tragedy hit in a community or nationwide. Not so much for the other times.

Now ,that’s my perspective in my community. I have heard that there are good things being done elsewhere by The Salvation Army . That’s great,I guess.  That’s not what I saw here. I saw women (yes,they were always women. This does not mean there aren’t victims of domestic violence who aren’t women. That just happened to be what I saw) who were vulnerable and in need turned away when they easily could have been helped.

If you’re thinking of donating any spare change this Christmas time, think about your local food pantry. They are stretched thin nationwide. They will appreciate your donation and will gladly use it to help someone in need with no stipulations regarding sexual orientation or anything else.

Remembering Chris Keith, aka “The Adventures of a Thrifty Mama”

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Chris just made this her Facebook header photo recently. I smiled every time I saw it . It should be said that Chris’ had a fabulous sense of humor.

I “met” Chris through my Facebook page for my personal blog crazy dumbsaint of the mind and I in turn become a fan of her blog Adventures of a Thrifty Mama in the City ‘Stead, and then later we got to know each other outside of blogging. For those  who don’t know how online friendships work, they might be confused when I call Chris my friend. Online friendships are funny things and sometimes it happens that the people you trust online with your experiences  and thoughts are these people you’ve never even had so much as a cup of coffee with.

Chris & I had a lot in common. We were both struggling to feed our families real food on a food stamp budget and defied being stereotyped as “welfare mom living off the system”. We both were striving  to create a sustainable  and secure food sovereignty for ourselves that didn’t require the safety net of the system, yet both strongly felt that the safety net needed to be there for people who need it to eat. Just a couple months ago, she  was interviewed on a local TV station to talk about the November food stamp cuts and what it could mean to low income families. We both had a history of domestic abuse &  trauma. Beyond that, we had very similar parenting philosophies and were proud Mamas to our larger-than-average family.

It hurts to write these things in the past tense, knowing that that tense does not apply to me as I’m still very much alive and still those things and she is not.On December 5th, Chris and her 14 year old son Isaac were shot and killed by her estranged husband, who was given his guns back by police only one day before.

I don’t want this to be Chris’ story. She was a survivor and now she isn’t. It’s murky territory to presume to speak for the dead but I think Chris would want it said that even though domestic violence can affect all different kinds of women (and men),  the fear of poverty is what prevents many mothers from leaving and if they do find the courage to leave, they do indeed find themselves subjected to poverty. Photo: Eaton Rapids High School Class of 1994 Lost a great friend, daughter and mother yesterday in an act of violence that I can't even fathom. Please keep Chris Keith's children and family in your thoughts and prayers in this very difficult time. If anyone you know is struggling with an unhealthy relationship and you can help please do not hesitate.There is a clear need to address the way families are affected by domestic violence and the part poverty can play on it.

I’ll put that discussion aside for now. When I talk about domestic violence issues in the future,I’ll be thinking of Chris. Right now, my thoughts are with her family & her three youngest children who are safe and being cared for by family. There is a memorial fund set up by Chris’ church. You can go here to make a contribution.

*UPDATED TO ADD*
The church and family request that no more toys,clothing and gifts be donated. Monetary donations to the memorial fund are the most needed as Chris’ mom will need to remodel her house a little for the children to live with her and of course, both short term & long term care of the children.