Daily Dozen: Links galore.Well, 12 to be exact.


Trying something new here. I always have soooo many links to share that I get overwhelmed when I try to do it just once a week. And honestly, I can imagine when it’s a ton of links at once, it’s a lot to take in. So, I’ll try this. I’ll share 12 links every day. I’ll probably do some on topic (like food/recipes, SNAP,current events,gardening,budgeting,etc).

[content: parenting while poor,doulas for low income women,homelessness,transgender homeless people,homeless shelters,nice rappers doing good things for poor families and homeless people, teachers don’t get paid enough,wealth inequality,food insecurity]



  1. How it feels to be a poor mother living without heat during a blizzard – short answer: fucking miserable
  2. The Myth of Low Cost Doula Support – this was a heated discussion over at the FB page one day after I said I wanted to become a doula just to provide services to low income women. I understand in some areas, low cost doulas are totally a thing but it’s not the norm. Also, some people don’t seem to get that some low income women need it to be “no cost”
  3.  In North Carolina, Teachers Work Second Jobs to Make Ends Meet [via Raise Up]- “…16 percent of teachers nationwide are forced to work a second job outside the school system. In North Carolina, however, that number is closer to 25 percent — third-highest in the entire country. When you include teachers who take second jobs within the school system, more than half of North Carolina educators — a full 52 percent — work second jobs to supplement their salaries.”
  4. Travesty: It Is Now Illegal To Feed The Homeless In Thirty-Three Cities – ugh
  5. Chris Hedges: If You’re Poor, Justice in America Doesn’t Look the Same-nope
  6. Chance the Rapper Raised 100k to Make Coats for Chicago’s Homeless– they double as sleeping bags
  7. 2 Chainz Gives Family of 11 Facing Eviction a New Home – this guy ❤
  8. Study: Low wages drive up government costs– makes sense. You dont pay people a living wage, they will need to rely on government assistance
  9. Police: Homeless Woman Smashed Window to Escape Cold – she wanted to go to jail so she didn’t have to freeze
  10. Wealth inequality has widened along racial, ethnic lines since end of Great Recession -yup
  11. via TalkPoverty: “I can’t afford to fill up my freezer, but I’m denied food stamps” –Kim bit.ly/22oqUBM
  12. Tll HUD to house trans people in shelters according to gender identity – This is a big deal. The number of trans people on the street has gone up and it’s harder for them to find shelters that accept them. (this does not address SAFE shelters for trans people,though)



Links: Food Justice & SNAP News – 1.13.16

[contents: food stamps, SNAP,Jeb Bush,Paul Ryan,block grants,marriage does not end poverty, states that will see SNAP cuts this month or soon, food insecurity,CSAs and food stamps,low income cooking classes for kids]


Our Prez had this to say about food stamps last night in the State of the Union address ….

via Think Progress

He isn’t wrong.

Meanwhile, Paul Ryan has been talking about poverty. He and other GOP dudes has what is being called “a bold and big new plan to end poverty”. On January 9th, Ryan and Sen Tim Scott moderated a Republican presidential forum on poverty.

Now, without even hearing what was said, I would assume that any plan put forth by the GOP to end poverty could also be dubbed The Bootstrap Plan. The idea of poverty solutions coming from the Republican party is laughable . Media Matters correctly identified the forum as a sham. Paul Ryan tossed out some sound bytes that sounded like he was trying to get some bipartisan support for these bold ideas. He talked about how we need to “Push wages up. Push the cost of living down. Get people off the sidelines.” One of the key takeaway points was that “a job is the only way out of poverty”, which completely ignores the current situation in the U.S. where many people in poverty DO have jobs…plural….and still live in poverty. This also really doesn’t address how disabled and elderly people or people who are caregivers for children or elderly family members are to be lifted out of poverty. Overall, the policies discussed contradict what the evidence says current safety net programs do and would increase poverty instead.

On the topic of SNAP,  there was much talk of “reform” and outright ending the program entirely. Jeb Bush laid out his plan prior to the poverty forum. His plan is to end SNAP and said “I know that giving states more flexibility will open the door for transformative ideas to eliminate poverty and increase opportunity”.   Whatever the hell that means. He also suggested that marriage is what will bring people out of poverty and on that key point, I’m done listening to anything he says.

(No,marriage won’t solve poverty, types the married blogger living in poverty)

Thankfully, economist Jared Bernstein explains what what Jeb’s plan is. When GOP candidates talk about ending SNAP, they mean they will cut SNAP as a federal program and give over to states an “opportunity grant” to be used to fund states’ own version of these programs. It’s a terrible idea and Bernstein explains:

The main reason this idea is so destructive is that it undermines the essence of the safety net, or its countercyclical function. The figure above makes the case (as the figure’s a bit gnarly, I pasted in the data below). It shows that when the last downturn hit, SNAP caseloads quickly responded to the loss of income among low-income households, while Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) hardly responded at all. The opportunity grant threatens to turn SNAP into TANF, killing the former’s countercyclical aspect in the same way block grants killed it for TANF.

We can learn a lot more about this bad idea from studying how SNAP worked in the last recession and thereafter.

Its countercyclical response in the figure is undeniable. Given that, some critics try to move the goalposts by granting that SNAP is responsive at the start of a downturn but arguing it’s less so later in the expansion, implying that it’s taking too long for

caseloads to fall as the economy has improved. There’s no question that SNAP caseloads, which are now slowly coming down, remained elevated as the unemployment rate fell. But for a number of reasons, that proves little.

You can read all of Bernstein’s WaPo article here.

Last week, Talk Poverty reported on The Ten Worst States for Food Insecurity. I’m thinking about what ending SNAP and giving block grants to those states would mean. For the love of Paul Ryan’s gym shorts….that can’t happen.

Moving on to other SNAP & food justice related things….
Let me start with a few GOOD THINGS:

⇒ you can finally use SNAP to get a CSA share. This will help some people gain access to fresh produce but honestly, probably only if the CSA does a sliding scale fee or type of discount for SNAP share holders  [via Modern Farmer]

⇒ MicroGreens is a great non-profit that teaches 6th and 7th graders how to cook healthy meals on a SNAP budget [via Civil Eats]

⇒ A school cut the summer meal program for low income kids ,so this woman got her caterer’s license and a pub let her use their kitchen to cook meals for them. Hero. [via Upworthy ]

Ok, on to the bad stuff.

SNAP cuts are now in effect or pending in the following states….
New Jersey

New Mexico

North Carolina (23 counties)



Tennessee (and Arkansas)

As many as 1 million people could lose SNAP this year [via Daily Kos]

Most of these cuts are due to states ending job waivers and enforcing time restrictions.

But as this points out, Requiring jobs won’t make jobs appear


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SNAP News: Community college students & hunger, Scott Walker’s nonsense…a report that says SNAP works to feed people and reduce poverty (yes,we know)


Recent changes to the SNAP program or public commentary…

[Content Notes for this week: college students,Wisconsin, Scott Walker,much poor shaming, SNAP challenges, CalFresh, Sacramento,New Mexico, New Jersey, senior citizens, SNAP works!, Georgia, Syrian refugees ]


χ  Association of Community College Trustees Announces New Report on Hungry, Homeless  – The “Hungry to Learn” report examines housing and food instability among community college students. Here’s the basics of the report:

  • Fifty-two percent indicated they were struggling with food insecurity, housing insecurity, or both.
  • One in five students went hungry while attending college.
  • Thirty-one percent of African American students and 23 percent of Latino students had very low levels of food security, compared with 19 percent of non-Hispanic white students.
  • One in eight was homeless at some time in his or her college career.
  • More than half (52%) of African American students experienced housing insecurity, with 18 percent experiencing homelessness, compared with 35 percent housing insecurity and 11 percent homelessness among non-Hispanic white students.

The report found that the biggest obstacle to students not graduating was not tuition expenses but living expenses. This is where SNAP could have a huge impact. Currently there are so many restrictions on college students receiving SNAP that too many of those 1 in 5 students won’t even qualify.

χ  Scott Walker Boots 15000 People Off Food Stamps In Three Months – Even though Wisconsin qualifies for a waiver that allows able bodied individuals to receive SNAP in times of economic hardship, Scott Walker reinstated work requirements. 15,000 lost SNAP as a result and the number is expected to double. The head of the Hunger Task Force, Sherri Tusler, said this will “bankrupt our food banks”.

I don’t think it’s even possible for me to not swear when I hear Walker’s name m wentioned anymore.

χ A week on food stamps in Sacramento – Not bad for a write up about a food stamp challenge (as most of you already know, I hate these simulations). The writer did it on $5/ day, which to me would be a feast. He recognizes that eating your boxed mac and cheese is going to be more appropriate for some than buying everything fresh(expensive). His input from some guy named Bill who lives on $1,000 a month was interesting. Please bring these magic grocery stores where 10 lbs of potatoes are $1.29 to my neck of the woods. This Bill guy says people on SNAP can’t feed themselves because they don’t know how to cook from scratch. Dude, lemme tell ya something. I have TAUGHT cooking classes. I don’t need to learn how to cook. I just need money to buy food.

χ Governor: Food stamp requirement not much to ask for – New Mexico’s governor Susanna Martinez wants to reinstate work or community service (80 hrs a month! If you’re looking for a job, how do you go about doing that,too?)  requirements for people getting SNAP. Requirements have been waived for 5 years now.

χ Council of Economic Advisers Releases Report Highlighting New Research On Food Stamps – the tl;dr version: SNAP works! People get to eat! Kids stay healthier! They do better in school! It helps decrease poverty! Yay, SNAP!

χ ‘Can you live on $16?’ Photos show NJ’s struggling senior citizens – The NJ Anti-Hunger Coalition is hosting a photo exhibit titled “N.J. Soul of Hunger: The Hidden Reality of Hunger Among Seniors and the Disabled” (funded by The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation). It is, of course, heartbreaking.

χ Bill Broker: Deal’s attitude toward Syrians and food stamps un-American – another excellent response to Georgia governor’s denial of services to Syrian refugees




SNAP News: Maine aiming for more restrictions, Georgia tries to deny refugees SNAP, and more….


Here’s what’s recent in SNAP policy & public opinion.
[Content notes: Syrian refugees,bureaucratic spending, junk food,diabetes,obesity-hunger paradox,health care, Maine,Georgia,Chicago, child hunger,NYC,food banks,soup kitchens,Indiana,Hawaii, Ruth Riley]

Department of Agriculture: Syrian Refugees Must Be GivenFood Stamps – Following Georgia Gov Nathan Deal’s executive order instructing state agencies to not comply with refugee resettlement plans, the Dept of Ag said “No,man. That’s not how we do things here.” As refugees who have been in the US for some time are telling their personal accounts of the process, one thing that stands out is that the amount of time those with refugee status are allowed SNAP. It isn’t long. Those states who are refusing to help refugees are under the impression that those people will require long term support and that just isn’t the way it is.

Food Stamp Bureaucrat Living Swanky on Taxpayer Dollars – Check this out. Robin Bailey is the regional administrator in Atlanta for the Food and Nutrition Services, the dept that oversees SNAP. His office decor cost taxpayer’s $22,226.64 (the drapes alone were over $3,000).

I’m also annoyed that the USDA pays someone $56,632 to put positive stories in the news. I’m assuming positive news about SNAP usage? Uh,hey. I’m doing that for free. Write me a check,please.

Maine to SNAP Recipients: No Soda For You – LePage’s newest SNAP policing is to ban “junk food”. (more on LePage: Maine to institute asset test ) despite all the  input from nutritionists and food advocates that say not to do this.

The Cost of Hunger – $160 Billion – and It’s Not Just for Food – It turns out hunger is expensive. The health care industry spends $160B on hunger related issues caused by poor nutrition and lack of food.  CN in this article: discussion of obesity but in relation to obesity-hunger paradox explaining why people gain weight eating on a low budget.

mRelief uses technology to help Chicago’s needy – This new program is hoping to help reach the underserved people who are eligible for services but have accessibility issues. Around 25% of eligible people never even apply for various reasons (I know that not being able to take time off work to go to the DSS office is a big one).

Census Bureau: 21.6% of US Children—15931000–on Food Stamps in 2014 – That number seems atrociously high,doesn’t it? The US is second only to Romania in child poverty. “Of the approximately 73,623,000 children under the age of 18 in the United States in 2014, 15,931,000—or 21.6 percent—were in households that received food stamps”. That’s bad enough but then when you start to consider that there are families with children who are eligible but not applying or JUST barely qualify leaving those children unserved… not to mention families made ineligible in states with restrictive policies…. I think we have an even bigger issue on our hands here.

Food Bank of NYC: 9 out of 10 food pantries, soup kitchens say they’re serving more people – Since SNAP  budget cuts, food pantries and soup kitchens have felt the burden. In NYC, 36% had to turn away hungry people this past September because they ran out of food.

Indiana reinstates SNAP requirements -18,000 people are without benefits now

Hawaii awarded for improved processing of food stamp applications – FYI: States can be fined for not processing applications in a timely manner. Hawaii was awarded $660,000 for raising their processing time to 94% since 2010.

Ruth Riley helps break down myths, misconceptions about food stamps – Ruth Riley is an Olympic gold medalist and WNBA player who was raised on food stamps. “I often joke that when I was growing up, I was tall, lanky and uncoordinated,” Ruth Riley testified before Congress in late October. “But looking back, I can’t have imagined what my path would have been like if I was tall, lanky, uncoordinated and hungry.






Very Frugal Feasting Wrap-Up

Let me get this out of the way:
I hate Thanksgiving. I hate most holidays. I like Halloween so much I got married on it. I treat my kids’ birthdays like they’re holidays. I’m not a total killjoy.

I have so many problems with Thanksgiving in particular. The historical roots make it rather unappetizing. It’s hard to enjoy eating when you’re thinking about genocide. And giving thanks on just ONE day? I am not about that either. Every day, folx.

Despite all these feelings, I end up doing the Thanksgiving thing anyway and somehow I manage to not be a Debbie Downer to everyone around me. It might be that I approach the day looking at it as just another day I’m feeding my family and having gratitude. That’s how I get through the day without snarking about how the cranberry sauce reminds me of the blood of slaughtered Native-Americans (not to say I have never made that observation out loud. In retrospect, I was an obnoxious teenager).

In short, I’m all growed up now and try not to ruin other people’s special day even if I think it’s a stupid day. I am even the one that cooks the damn food for everyone.

This year had the extra challenge of a  budget tighter than Willie Nelson’s headband. We only had 8 to feed this year , so this was somewhat helpful. The average Turkey Day din-din costs around $50.
We managed to do the shopping for $25.86

Here’s the breakdown-

  • Turkey was .49¢ per pound. We spent $10.29
  • 10 lbs of potatoes- $5
  • mushrooms- $2.58
  • heavy cream- $3.99 (for both the greenbean casserole and whipped cream)
  • cranberries – $4 ($2/bag)

This does not include anything I already had on hand – salt,herbs,onions,garlic,sugar,flour,etc. If I wasn’t a pantry staples hoarder and herb gardener, my total would have been a lot higher. I know that these things when used in a meal work out to be cents but buying all those ingredients at once would be a no-go for most low income people.

I had freebies,too.

  • Canned green beans from the Backpack Program
  • Carrots from a relative’s garden

My eldest son made the dressing. He bought some of the ingredients himself but a good deal came from the food pantry he volunteers at several times a week. The bread (a mix of rye,sourdough, and cornbread), celery,apples,fresh rosemary,thyme,and oregano were all from the food pantry.

My mother bought 3 pies, all made by the Methodist Ladies group. The proceeds go to their spring mission trip which is usually to go to another country to help build a school or something else awesome and helpful.

So, my menu was-

Turkey, mashed taters, roasted glazed carrots,green bean casserole, homemade dinner rolls,fresh cranberry sauce,dressing.

The math works out to be $3-ish per person, which is more like an entire day’s SNAP budget.Definitely not a minimum wage without SNAP meal,either. The huge plus side is that I have a cubic buttload of leftovers that will stretch over the days?a week?  into other meals. Otherwise, I could not even justify spending that much on one dinner.

I’ll do a leftovers post next week with all the meals I managed to get out of this one shindig.

Despite all my Negative Nellie feelings about Thanksgiving, I still wish everyone could have the food filled celebration they want instead of standing in line at a food kitchen dinner or eating boxed mac and cheese from the food bank. These holidays that are centered around food are awful for poor folks. I’m so grateful there are people out there who have enough to share and willing to share it.















Ugh, SNAP.

Here’s my good-bad news:

My husband got a raise. 50 whole cents more per hour.

I am finally easing back into work at home mode. The summer and our hectic move made working difficult. We’re settling in, my kids are in school full time. I am not at a place where working outside the home is a feasible plan- economically and logistically, working elsewhere won’t fly.

 So I’m grateful I have skills and options that help me work at home. It’s going well but it’s still a small source of income. Still, small is better than none….


We just had to recertify for SNAP. That small income was enough to make us ineligible. By $73.

I say this all the time… being in the income range where you just miss qualifying for help is just as dangerous a place as qualifying. SNAP works and it works well. Without SNAP, there is no food budget. SNAP opponents will often deconstruct the acronym to point out that the S stands for Supplemental. “It’s meant to be extra money for food!” 

No. No, it isn’t . I mean…maybe that was the intention but that isn’t how it works. Anyone who has ever lived on a SNAP budget will attest: That money is not extra money for food. It IS the food budget. 

Even McDonald’s gets this. Recall when Mickey D’s offered “helpful tips ” for employees on how to live on poverty wages. Their McBudget had no food allowance. Why? Because they were well aware that employees would qualify for SNAP. SNAP was the food budget.
Low income families without SNAP have to make economic decisions that sacrifice food.Pay rent or groceries? Heat & electricty or food? Food is always sacrificed because no one is going to come knock on the door and give the food in the fridge an eviction notice. Know what I mean?  Priority goes to making sure you have a place to live. 

So, I’m in this weird place now where I should be happy we’re achieving small successes but I can’t because we’re still living under that poverty line and not making enough to make ends meet. 

This is ridiculous,y’all .

I have gratitude for all that I do have, so there’s that. And I have to add that. I am so damn grateful and count allllll the blessings . Blessings counted. Thanks given. Every day. But I have to actually SAY that I am because poor haters will assume I’m not . That’s how the Interwebs works. 

Snap News: NC cuts work requirement waivers and Maine institutes the asset test




NC Senate votes to cut food stamps after GOPer promises it will make lazy people go to college

This bill prohibits waivers for work requirements. Usually, states allow waivers to able-bodied people on SNAP if they live in counties with high unemployment rates and lacking jobs.
Senator Norman Sanderson’s rationale behind cutting SNAP: “And I think that we will be amazed that when this goes into effect, and I don’t know the exact number of people that this can ultimately effect, but I think you are going to see a lot of them either go and get that 20-hour a week job or they’re going to enroll in some kind of higher education to improve their job skills. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to get here.”

Because once they enroll in college or get a 20 hr a week low wage job, the food will magically appear in their fridge. Not to mention, if someone has to get a 20 hr a week job because they’re losing their SNAP, that 20-hr week job is probably a SECOND job. If they can find that job. Sen. Angela Bryant, a politician who seems to have a good amount of common sense, pointed out that those jobs just aren’t even there in some rural areas and that the state has also cut funding for higher education assistance. Senator Bryant offered an amendment to overturn the cuts. Thanks, Senator Bryant.


There’s a federal “asset test” that most states ignore but Maine is going to put the policy into effect for anyone receiving assistance. Recipients can’t have more than $5,000 in saving accounts or assets. There are good reasons why most states ignore the asset test. While Maine says it’s “an abuse to enroll in the system when you’ve got $5,000 in the bank”, most anti-poverty advocates recognize that not being able to save money keeps people in a cycle of poverty.  Students who worked to save money for tuition instead of putting themselves in debt with student loans would have to choose to use that money to eat instead of pay tuition. Families saving money for a down payment on a house because the rent is too damn high and having a mortgage payment will actually relieve their financial burden have to kiss that dream goodbye. And how does one get off assistance ever? If you can’t build your own safety net, you need to rely on the one the government has in place.

Besides, if someone is in dire need of assistance and is denied help because of assets, it’s only a matter of a few months before they utilize all those assets to live off of and then they’re still going to end up back at the welfare office needing help after that money is gone. Most people who need money right away when they’re struggling DO liquidate their assets (quite often at a loss) but Governor LePage mentioned “snowmobiles and motorcycles” as the particularly offensive assets. Imagine trying to sell a snowmobile in July when you desperately need food because the state says that’s an asset.


No Food Wasted: Leftover Spinach Salad= Greek-ish Omelette

The phone rang and I have ADHD, so my omelette scorched , then plain just fell apart but you’re not here for pretty food photography, right?

This is the reason I prefer to make salad with spinach than lettuce (besides that spinach has more nutritional value) .I can recycle spinach salad far easier into other foods than I can lettuce. You can throw it in wraps, pasta dishes,bake it on fish or meat… lots of possibilities.

One negative: spinach tends to be more expensive BUT I find that I can stretch a package of spinach throughout several meals and I just don’t get that with lettuce.

Both are really easy to grow if you can do that, so there’s that way of handling the whole cost issue. Still, even growing my own I would end up buying some occasionally because my small garden was not a farm that could keep up with my ridiculous family who likes to eat lots of spinach.

If I do have a salad made with lettuce, I will use up the leftover on a sandwich. But meh…

ICYMI: Hundreds of poor residents being forced out of DC housing,Texas sends poor teens to adult jail for skipping school, more about Kansas shenanigans… (and more)


Seems like a lot of inequality shenanigans to mention this week.

× Texas is sending poor teens to adult jail for skipping school – That doesn’t quite seem like the answer to getting them stay in school, Texas

× Remember that apartment building being built in NYC that had a separate entrance for poor people? There are currently 88,000 applicants for the 55 units in the ‘poor door’ building.

× Beyond Gentrification: Hundreds of predominantly poor Black residents are being forced out of their homes to make way for new developments

Sounds like a case for Nelson & Murdock

× Also, in DC, the Capital Bikeshare program is not reaching low income residents who would benefit the most. Half of the participants make $100,000 or more /year . Other cities are finding the same issue and have discovered that a small percentage makes less than $50,000/yr.

× I am a cook in the US Senate but I still need food stamps to feed my children – Bertrand Olotara is a single father who works 70 hours a week and still struggling. He’s calling on politicians he serves in the Senate to do something about it. Do you think they’ll respond?

× A Day in the Life of a Welfare Recipient, according to the GOP – Another commentary on restrictions states are placing on how TANF money is spent based on stigmas and false stereotypes.

× Can you survive on $4.17 a day? – I know I’ve made it abundantly clear how much I dislike food stamp challenges but I always read them. I can’t discount everything said about them. This one has great points about how US citizens focus unfairly on SNAP while government spends a lot of money on ridiculous things.

×  $17 million at risk in Nebraska if they don’t get their act together and approve or deny food stamp applications in a timely manner

× Less Money, More Problems – Kansas has a history of stigmatizing low income people instead of creating policy to help them

via Collective Evolution