PAF Playlist: Stand up….we shall not be moved, except for a child with no socks and shoes

What with all the holey shoe issues this week, this song kept popping into my head.

This week has me thinking about how my current poor AF circumstances are both enormous and small at the same time. I’m thinking about how fortunate I am but how unsettling that good fortune is knowing that so many people are in the same place and much worse.

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Do you think I could crowdfund to become a philanthropist? People would get behind that,right? The Poor Philanthropist.

(I LOVE oxymorons, by the way)

I wouldn’t be a charitable philanthropist,though. Charity is this concept that assumes that the person giving is more elevated than the person receiving. I wouldn’t want to be about that. I’m right there with ya’ll.
(I think I just mangled another quote right there but the exact wording and who said it first is escaping me)

An Angel Tree Gift Buying Guide


If you’ve grabbed a name tag off an Angel Tree or similar program at the mall or your church and not sure where to go from there, these tips might help to choose the perfect gift.

Depending on the organization, you might only have a few key points to do your Angel Tree recipient’s  shopping by. Usually, you’re only given the child’s gender,age, and clothing size.  You’re not given any clue to the child’s personality – his or her likes,interests, or even actual needs.  If you’ve ever had to buy a gift for a child you don’t know well, you know how tricky this can be. Here’s some suggestions on how to make your selections the most appropriate & meaningful.

1. Be Thoughtful, Not Dutiful

There are a lot of people who take an Angel Tree name because they get swept up in the emotion of imagining a poor child with nothing to open on Christmas morning.  I wouldn’t mention this if I hadn’t seen it before. Some people buy gifts thinking that anything that child gets is better than nothing. This probably goes without saying but remember that the child receiving the gifts is a real small person with feelings and not an imaginary altruistic concept.  It’s horrible to open gifts that are easily recognized as – well….crap. It isn’t that the people are ungrateful for the gesture. It’s just that they have actual feelings and getting crap makes people feel like crap, or even that they are crap.

Don’t let a sense of duty and guilt be your reason for taking that name in the first place. Be mindful of the child at the receiving end.

2.  Think Practical

I know the guidelines usually say to buy a complete outfit and a toy but sometimes there are other things low income children really need. Maybe put together a stocking with stocking stuffers with kid-friendly soap,toiletries,socks, and little goodies. Think about things that food stamps can’t buy or things that food banks might have in short supply. School supplies would be great,too.

If you’re buying a toy, avoid battery operated things.
Clothing  should be something that’s every day casual and appropriate to your region’s season.

Also, try to stay away from novelty characters for both toys or clothing (unless you’re lucky enough to know that the child has a favorite character.Then,obviously, go for it!) ,or sayings on clothing. This just isn’t about the child not being a fan of those things. Some characters or sayings might not reflect that family’s personal ethics or beliefs.

3. Think Outside The Gender Box

Try to avoid the premise that “dolls are for girls, trucks are for boys” but also don’t reverse it and get something for a girl that is stereotypical to a boy and vice versa . This is one reason personal details on those Angel Tree tags are especially helpful, even if it’s just knowing what the kid’s favorite color is.

Non-gender specific toy ideas: playdoh, legos or other building toys, games, non-messy arts and crafts supplies,puzzles, toy animals, science kits,  puppets, and anything that inspires imaginative play.

4. Books Are Always A Good Idea!

You really can’t go wrong with books. Just be sure to choose books that are age appropriate and steer clear of books with religious themes or those books based on movies or cartoons.

Those are the basics. If your family has ever received gifts from an Angel Tree or similar program, please feel free to give your input and suggestions!

I made potato salad for a lot less than $60,000



I have table-flipping-She-Hulk rage over that dude who raised at least $60,000 to make a damn potato salad. There was a 3 day period where I may have needed a trigger warning for talk of potato salad.

Which was sad because I really wanted to eat some potato salad. Since,you know, that’s about all I can eat these days and it sounded like a nice change from soup.

Over the weekend, we had salt potatoes for dinner. The next day, I used the leftovers to make what could only be described as Rage Against the Potato Salad Kickstarter Potato Salad. It was good with only a slight aftertaste of bitterness & rage.

It doesn’t take a genius or $60,000 to make tater salad. You take potatoes


…cut ’em into chunks. Maybe peel them first. Maybe not. Whatever.

Add some mayo, Dijon mustard,a splash of apple cider vinegar…some herbs (I like dill & lovage). Maybe even chop up some onions, if that’s what you’re into. I like hard boiled eggs in it,too.




That’s it. How much of each? Who knows. I just throw it together until it looks like potato salad. Like I said, doesn’t take a genius. Or someone who has money. I made a huge bowl for probably about $3.00 or so.

I need a kickstarter for a new house with better lighting in the kitchen so my food photography doesn’t look like crap. This potato salad tasted better than it looked.


So, now that I showed you how to make a decent potato salad for free, do me ONE favor:

If you have money to throw at a cause, please give it to people who need it and not someone who started a fundraiser as a joke.  If you don’t trust people on the Internet, go buy some potatoes and other good food to donate to your local food pantry. Thanks.





“Fuck the Poor” – Paul Ryan



No, not an actual quote from Paul. At least not publicly.
This video is a social experiment conducted by The Pillion Trust Charity.
I was way ahead of the punchline. I see this every single day.

“We knew you cared. Please care enough to give.

Not that everyone CAN give but hey, pennies add up and nearly everyone has spare change.

Speaking of pennies…




This is the Memorial to the Missing and contains over 50,000,000 pennies to represent the lives of each American child abandoned to abortion by a society and a culture that has embraced their destruction. We must prevent the need to add to this memorial. Take a stand. Get involved.
 ”How we treat the least of us defines us.”

"should I use this $500k to help struggling parents and pregnant people or should I put it in a glass box"

can somebody break this and give it to some real live kids who are actually starving right now

oh yes, let’s make a memorial to remember the lives that never had conscious thought
let’s make a memorial using real money to represent lives that made absolutely no impact on the earth whatsoever 
let’s just waste all this money in a useless box and start shoving prolife down people’s throats
instead of actually taking a chance to listen to
the teenagers that made a mistake
the people who were violated, and had heavier consequences than the scars in their mind
the people that didnt know better
the people that couldnt afford it
the people that didnt want it
the people that chose not suffer their lives and the child’s life 
lets build a giant reminder to why humans are not allowed to make their own choices based on biological factors they cannot control
lets also just waste a fuck ton of money for no reason. 

This is a glass house a anti-choice organization filled with $500k , all in pennies. It’s a memorial to aborted fetuses. Huh. I don’t think you can really call yourself pro-life (hence, my term anti-choice) if you hoard pennies as symbolism instead of using that $500K to help struggling families who have children living on this planet.

People are strange.

Ok, now back to Paul Ryan. I keep hoping he’ll just go away. Instead, he proposes budgets that cut everything that ever helped a low income America living in poverty, and to get out of poverty. If made into law, it would  cut $5.1 trillion from safety net and social welfare programs, like  Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, college grants, medical research….

He does so out of love,you guys! This is how the poor will be elevated out of poverty. Don’t worry about the lack of logic behind it. Trust him. It’s all for your own good.

Yeah, I think he really needs to go away now.

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(I know,I know…I was supposed to clean up my language for this blog. Allow me one cursing post per week. That’s all I need)

link round-up: #SaturdaySchool, liberal academics make poor revolutionaries, LGBT housing for low income seniors,and more…

Steve McQueen was born on this day (March 24th) in 1930. My favorite thing: McQueen had an unusual reputation for demanding free items in bulk from studios when agreeing to do a film, such as electric razors, jeans, and other products. It was later found out that McQueen requested these things because he was donating them to the Boy’s Republic Reformatory School for Displaced Youth, where he had spent time during his teen years.”

via Daily Dose from Joey X.


ICYMI:  The topic of #SaturdayScool this weekend was Children with Incarcerated Parents. If you’re not familiar with #SaturdaySchool, it’s a “a weekly hashtag chat about academics and rights-based issues — but it’s more than that. It’s an idea about protesting misinformation that is funded by corporate media and perpetuated by ignorance. #SaturdaySchool is a weekly digital teach-in intended to cross social media platforms. It doesn’t even have to happen on Saturday. A teach-in is a kind of protest that involves boycotting a previous behavior to learn and teach. “ hosted by @ProfRagsdale . You can check out the entire discussion  ~here~. As always,  there’s a lot of good information to read and discussions to provide food for thought.


7-Eleven worker can keep job after offering free coffee to homeless man

Amazed what shop owners and managers will do over a cup of coffee. At least he didn’t call the police. That homeless man might be dead now.


Why Liberal Academics and Ivory Tower Radicals Make Poor Revolutionaries : Every bit of this had me raising my fist and shouting,”Hell,YES!” . I’m probably just projecting my current frustrations not just with liberal academia but with liberal organizations whose purpose is to advocate for poor and marginalized people but they seem to have little regard for the actual communities they are “working” for.
“Liberal academics and social scientists need to understand their effect on the communities and people they study. Oppressed people who are put under the magnifying glass of academic research have to live with real consequences after the researcher leaves. This is especially true in the field of women’s and ethnic studies — where class, gender, and race consciousness are a part of the research process. Researchers leave behind a stranded community with little to no resources to help them organize movements that will create real change.”


Apartment complex for low-income LGBT seniors opens in Philadelphia – ““If we don’t take care of our LGBT seniors, we’re not taking care of our community,” says Segal, who believes the housing development should be a national model, “and that’s what real community is about.”
LGBT people have a greater poverty risk. This is why this is important.




The need for food banks is increasing in wealthier communities [link ]. Things really are that bad all over.



A quarter of Mississippi residents say they don’t have enough money for food: …


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Trying some new things out here at the blog…. cutting back from Facebook posting. There is so much information out there I could post daily but we’d be annoying the hell out of the page followers with all those posts. This will also  make it much easier to find content (there’s a search bar at the righthand side of the page and also easy to categorize & tag) and anyway, I’m a Blogger,not a Facebooker, right?
We’ll see how this goes.

Need help? Read this. (please)

Yup, that’s all me.

Like I said the other day in Jenn’s “thank you”, my inbox on a regular basis is a place where people go to share their personal struggles and such. Most of the time, they just need a safe and supportive place to talk. Actually,no…not most of the time. All of the time. Sometimes, people are also looking for help. I can usually find what they need or guide them in the right direction.  It’s kinda my thing. Thanks, Malcolm Gladwell for helping me to recognize myself as a lot  Maven and little bit  Connector.

There are a lot of people who need more help than I can give. The funny thing that happened to me after the great response to  Jenn’s Words, although I certainly was happy for Jenn that people were willingly so generous and were able to help her out of a deep hole , I found myself really, really pissed off. So many people in this exact same type of situation and even worse.  And you know how I had to work really,really hard to clean up the language here? Forgive this lapse:  Shit is fucked up. Man.

It goes without saying, money is a big deal for a lot of people right now. I have a few projects in the works that will help fill the needs for some people. Not just money because as much as I know a ton of people think money is king, I think there are a lot of ways we can affect change and help people that don’t involve money.
At this blog, the point has never been to solicit donations because that’s a bit unfeasible and well…. yes, it’s annoying. I personally have unsubscribed from social media accounts that are constantly asking for money. So, while I feel I have an incredible outreach tool here to reach out to people who can help those in need, I want to be careful of not bombarding people will appeals to donate to individuals. I also don’t want the overall intention of this blog to be diluted.

The solution I came up with for right now while I work on getting other things going is to have one post here on the blog, once a week. In that post, I will share brief profiles of what people are needing with a link to where you can help them out at.

So, if you need something right now, here’s what I need you to do: Fill out this contact form below.You do not need to use your full name…just a first name is ok. This goes directly to my inbox and I will not publish any of your contact permission without your permission.

I can’t promise everyone will get what they need but we’ll give it a shot.


Update on “family who were food stamp judged while buying food for sick child”

I put the title in quotation marks because this is actually a search term people have typed into Google to get to that post.
The one I’m talking about is this one:

“Its hard being poor in America. When your kid is sick enough that you can’t work but disability doesn’t pay the bills, it is crushing. “

The response to that guest post here a month ago was incredible. The outpouring of emotional support and compassion helped both the author of the post and myself regain some faith in humanity. Since writing that, the family has gone through even more challenges. Thanks to the November cuts to SNAP, their food stamp amount was cut to just $159/month. Then, the chimney collapsed in the home they were renting, the property was condemned ,and they had to move. Fortunately, their landlord was able to let them move into another rental property right away but they aren’t being allowed back in their old place to get belongings.

I’ve always thought there was a lot to that expression, “When it rains,it pours.” Sheesh.

Around the time of the food stamp cut, I had put out a message on the Poor as Folk facebook wall, just asking if anyone in that family’s area had ideas of what resources could be available for additional help. It wasn’t a call for personal donations and I did not expect that would happen but it did. Someone in their city(shoutout to Danyelle…who also wanted me to mention her friend Erica Quinn, who got many people on board) was motivated to ask friends and coworkers for help to  collect donations for the family.NEIGHBORS...Kindness is one of the greatest gifts you can bestow...I'm so blessed with some really great neighbors because when you need family and family is far away...they become your family!  I could not have made it through the last 17 days without the support of my neighbors...I'm forever grateful.

Not only did donations include about $400 in cash & gift cards, food, toiletries,and diapers but also winter boots,clothing, dog treats and more. Even a button hook tool for Mom who has rheumatoid arthritis.They made Christmas happen for the family with toys, including a wii and games for the kids. Every bit of it was greatly appreciated and helped alleviate a little bit of the stress this family is under. That’s incredible valuable in itself.

I think one of the greatest things about giving and exercising kindness is that the beneficiary isn’t the only one who benefits. Danyelle said, “This opportunity to help their family has not only strengthened my faith in the generosity of others, but has reinforced my belief that raising awareness is effective, but can be made to be exponentially more meaningful when it is followed by organizing action. I am so grateful to all that helped; I hope your blog continues to inspire organized action. Thank you for all that you do!”

For me, The Blogger, I feel much the same way and am so grateful for the opportunity to raise not just awareness on some issues but to inspire compassion. I’m amazed and touched every day just by the fact that people are so willing to share their often very personal stories of struggling. I don’t have a lot to give to others but I realize that just being the listener is enough. If telling the stories inspires others to give, this free writing gig is SO worth every minute I spend here.

Updated to add:  Some have asked where they can send some donations to this family. I do have an address but don’t really want to put it here publicly but you can contact me at and I’d be happy to pass it along.

There is a donation page set up to help replace items lost in the house when the chimney collapsed HERE.

UPDATE Feb 23,2014 : Their daughter is having surgery this morning. Please keep the family in your prayers or thoughts or whatever it is you do to send out good juju. When she returns home, she’ll require the pre-packaged foods again.  So, I’m guessing that fundraising page linked up there might be more helpful now to offset grocery costs now.