weekend links

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» Fifty years later, Black Panthers’ art still resonates – this weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the Black Panthers’, the architects of our current day school lunch and WIC program.

» More colleges open food pantries to address hunger on college campuses

» Exploring the Untold Stories of Refugees with Rolling Blackouts Cartoonist Sarah Glidden

»  Does Big Ag Really Feed the World? New Data Says Not So Much

» via  Bad memes I made on my phone …

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This is a fascinating lost interview from 1979 with Ronald Reagan , 18 months before he was elected President. I think listening to this helps me understand why my Grandfather  (grew up poor during that same era) loved Reagan so much. It’s interesting to hear him discuss the way the political parties had shifted at that point. Much talk of bootstraps. He says the way to help poor people is that poor people have to “get over” being poor like it’s a mindset and not an economic situation.

 

 

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)

snap

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

 

 

 

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)

Today’s Reads: “”We have an image of hunger that comes from Africa, but this is America.And unless your belly is distended we don’t have an image of what hunger looks like here.”

All the read-worthy things for this evening.

Viola Davis talked to People Magazine about digging through trash and stealing food as a kid growing up with hunger.

Now partnering with the Safeway Foundationand the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Davis is spearheading the campaign forHunger Is to raise awareness and funds to fight childhood hunger. 

“We have an image of hunger that comes from Africa, but this is America,” Davis adds. “And unless your belly is distended we don’t have an image of what hunger looks like here.” 

Food programs like Hunger Is were instrumental in helping Davis achieve her dreams and goals. “I am the first generation of my family to go to college. Those programs made all the difference for me,” says the actress, who has five siblings. “It’s been cathartic for me because I always had a lot of shame with going in the garbage dumps that had maggots in it, too. It has brought healing in my life to be able to talk about it.” 
djline
If you are 35 or younger – and quite often, older – the advice of the old economy does not apply to you. You live in the post-employment economy, where corporations have decided not to pay people. Profits are still high. The money is still there. But not for you. You will work without a raise, benefits, or job security. Survival is now a laudable aspiration.
Quoted from Sarah Kendzior’s “Surviving the Post-Employment Economy

“In the United States, nine percent of computer science majors are unemployed, and 14.7 percent of those who hold degrees in information systems have no job. Graduates with degrees in STEM – science, technology, engineering and medicine – are facing record joblessness, with unemployment at more than twice pre-recession levels. The job market for law degree holders continues to erode, with only 55 percent of 2011 law graduates in full-time jobs. Even in the military, that behemoth of the national budget, positions are being eliminated or becoming contingent due to the sequester.

It is not skills or majors that are being devalued. It is people.”

Her work is frank, speaking of a reality I hope that will never be mine. At the same time, it gives me a strange comfort to know that I am not alone.

(via sextus—empiricus)

 

djline


think-progress
:

This is the worst city in America to be homeless.

A must read.

djline

Meanwhile….
Florida homeless center’s superior reason for growth- more medical care:
bit.ly/1nWCjn5#poverty (Op-Ed via @bradentonherald)

And you thought nothing good ever happened in Florida.

djline

via victorequality

Not only does capitalism depend on it, it treats it the shittiest. Domestic workers tend to be women and non-white, helping capitalism contribute to the marginalization of those people.

 

 

“They helped us in our darkest moments, when the food ran out” – Mayor SvanteMyrick

Media preview

My local Mayor Svante Myrick was on Meet the Press yesterday morning. Pretty big deal,I suppose but it actually just reminded me that I never posted this incredibly moving video he made for the area food bank.

Myrick grew up poor, raised by a devoted mother but the family was forced into poverty because of his father’s drug addiction. For a time, they were homeless and his meals often came from a food pantry. In this video, he shares his personal story growing up poor and what it meant to him to be helped by safety net programs and the food bank. “It’s not charity, it’s an investment.” He points out that without food programs, children can’t succeed.

Because of his experiences, he has overwhelming gratitude and is passionate about ending food insecurity.

More about Svante Myrick here.

 

 

 

 

 

Food is a human right, not a privilege

The first time I experienced true hunger, I just went with it and hoped the answer to having no food would fall in my lap. Something would change. I was not about to go beg for help. I was raised knowing what kind of people got free money from the government. Lazy,good for nothing,waste of space kind of people. I was harder on myself also because I heard all the voices back from when I had a baby when I was just a girl myself…the ones that said, ‘You’ll never make it. You’re going to ruin your own life and that baby’s.’.

Realistically, I should have been proud of the fact that I raised that baby until he was 5 without help from anyone, family or the government. A 35 year old single mother had just as much chance of being the one who found herself suddenly without a job and no new prospects, struggling to avoid eviction and keep the lights on and food in bellies. I just didn’t see it that way then. I saw myself as the conservative naysayer’s prophecy come true. I honestly believed asking for help made me less of a “strong woman”.

ec988e2f4c5c479b9c47ed254621ada9I fed my kid what there was to eat and if there was leftovers, I’d eat that. I was naturally petite, weighing only about 110 pounds at my heaviest winter weight. Before long, I started to lose my curves and people noticed. At first, it was, “Wow, you look great!” , until I didn’t look great anymore and I just looked sick. I weighed 85 pounds before someone I barely knew started leaving food on my doorstep and then made me call DSS to apply for food stamps & cash assistance.I was ashamed and embarrassed, which was only made worse by the way people treat you when you’re getting assistance but the world didn’t end and we ate.

That was the first time.

The second time I was really hungry, I had taken myself, my son, and newborn twins out of a horrible situation and moved into an apartment. It didn’t take long to feel like I had just gone from a dangerous place to another dangerous place. I was working full time, paying more than half my paycheck to daycare, not receiving any child support or assistance from anywhere. As soon as I caught myself rationing food and making sure the kid ate before I did, I recognized that it was time to apply for help. I did and I was denied. I made $110 too much, according to the income eligibility guidelines. $110 too much yet not enough to actually make it.  I applied for a daycare subsidy, trying to free up that money to pay the bills & eat but there was a 6 month waiting list. That’s a long time to wait when you’re hungry. I went to food pantries and bought cheap, gross food. The apartment I lived in had no place for me to grow food.  Then, the daycare center I worked at as a teacher went bankrupt and closed. That saved my ass. No longer making anything, I was approved for food stamps and we could eat again. I don’t know what would have happened if the place I worked for hadn’t closed and I had stayed employed. I had already started not eating at home and looking forward to the free meals served at the daycare.Afterward, living on unemployment & some food stamps, I found myself in the odd predicament of being afraid to find another job and getting stuck in the same situation.

That was the second time.

There wasn’t really a third time. Even though we receive food stamps right now, I didn’t let it get to that point where I was truly hungry. I think you’ve probably figured out that when I’m using the word hungry here,I’m not talking about the little pang you feel between meals. I’m talking about a consistently empty and unfulfilled feeling in your stomach. The kind that makes you tired and slow, physically,mentally,spiritually. I never let it get that far again. There are millions of people in the US who are eligible for food stamps and don’t even apply. There are a lot more who have applied and were denied because they made “too much” . Making too much to receive help is sometimes just as bad as being in that place where you won’t go apply for whatever reason. The system has a lot of illogical rules and  doesn’t serve everyone who needs fed. In most states, the amount someone is suppose to receive as court ordered child support is counted as income….even if  child support is rarely received. Single parents living on one income, not making ends meet at all yet can’t qualify for help because on paper, their income is some figure based on what some slacker is supposed to pay but doesn’t.

People have told me their reasons for not applying. The shame & fear of being judged is an overwhelmingly huge factor. Sometimes the way you’re treated at the social services office by caseworkers varies greatly. Some are compassionate & helpful. Others are cruel & judgmental.The people who have had experiences in the past with government employed social workers who can’t dish out anything but contempt for the people they’re required to help won’t ever go back to apply again.

Humiliation is powerful enough to keep people from getting help to eat. That’s a damned shame. Food is a right, not a privilege. I wish I had understood that 20 years ago. I wish I had understood that it didn’t matter why I had no money to feed myself and my child, I still deserved to eat just as much as any other human being with money in their bank account.

I don’t care how unpopular that opinion is. I don’t express the opinions I have to please those people. I have them to show I care about people who need someone to give a shit about them and because I’ve been there myself. The people who gripe about there being too many people on food stamps  “living high on the hog” as it is and all that bullshit about welfare fraud need to get a dose of reality. More than half the people on food stamps work, they’re just underemployed and half the people also receive them for less than 1 year. Being anti-food stamps because of rampant welfare fraud or other misconceptions is like saying that  a lot of women lie about being raped. It happens so rarely that it makes the issue irrelevant.Of course it’s wrong but the percentages do not warrant an entire argument and raging stigma to be born from it.

I’m not here to talk about how bad welfare fraud is. I’m just here to speak for the larger numbers of people who need help.  Living on food stamps is no picnic but it beats the hell out of not having them at all. 0ed4efd8b7cad7558f3d3947237b7436The welfare stigmas and stereotypes need to die. I don’t know how to make this happen except to keep speaking up for the majority of people who do not fit the stereotype and myth. I encourage anyone who really needs help to go get it and refuse to give a shit about the people who will judge you.No one should ever get to that point where they weigh 85 pounds and are still too embarrassed to ask for help. If you’re treated unkindly, point out that decent humans don’t act like that.

Compassion is a sign of great intellect. If they’re not showing compassion, it proves their stupidity. If you happen to be one of the unsympathetic beings reading this, don’t get all bent out of shape because I just stated that you’re stupid. Just try to open your mind a bit and let your perceptions change a little. Remember this: Shit happens and it happens to the best of us. Someday you could be the one who needs help. Do you really want to be treated like a parasite because of it?

All the things you might have missed- 12/2-12/8/2013

Ok, let’s try this. A link digest of all the Facebook posts  from the past week, all in one handy place. Facebook’s super annoying “algorithm”  keeps fewer people from seeing the Poor as Folk page posts.

Articles & Thoughts

Where Is the Love?– I don’t like Nicholas Kristof ‘s use of unfair stereotypes here to illustrate his point (I used to work with children with FAS…none of them born to teen moms. *I* was a teen mom and never drank. Likewise, I’ve also seen many cases of abuse in children and single mothers were not the primary perpetrators) but his point is that people need to be more compassionate and I can’t disagree with that.
The call for removal of children from homes hits a huge nerve with me (and I plan to write more about this some day soon). I’ve done the math on this. It would cost most states about 7 times more to make a child a ward of the state than to just provide assistance to that child’s family.People who say poor kids should be removed from homes are NOT concerned about the financial picture. They are just because classist and ignorant jerks.

A Mockery of Poverty: Rich Tourists Paying to Live Like the Poor in ‘Luxury Shanty Town’ 
Really and truly. Poverty tourism at it’s finest.

20 things the poor do every day – I missed the original piece this is a response to. I don’t think I’m missing anything.

NPR’s Robert Siegel Needs a Reality Check -“According to this year’s Out of Reach report, published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, in no county in the entire country can someone who works full-time and earns $11 an hour afford a decent apartment. ”
While Obama Talks Poverty, Stabenow Agrees to $8 Billion More in SNAP Cuts | The Nation – Yeah, I’ve mentioned this before somewhere…Debbie Stabenow is not an advocate for those facing food insecurity in America

http://ift.tt/1bS9VKE
From Working America on tumblr

10 Little Things We Can Do To Make Life Easier For Each Other -Help people. Don’t call people names on the Internet. Be nice to retail and food service workers.

And am I the only one who thought of Dr Who when I read #1? Where my Whovians at?

This is the source of my frustration on most days. We CAN do these things. Deconditioning isn’t happening fast enough.

Food 

Interview: On Growing Quinoa in America (and Your Backyard!?) with Ian Dixon-McDonald -This is good news for people who like quinoa but want to not make poor people in other countries go without THEIR staple crop because of American foodies want for it.

The Comfort of Cooking » Southwestern Stuffed Spaghetti Squash – one of my family’s favorite ways to eat sketti squash

Recipe: Super Simple & Totally Vegetarian Split Pea Soup -my own recipe that my kids love. It’s too bad split pea soup has to look so gross

Homemade Applesauce Recipe- How to Make it Frugally and Healthy | Penniless Parenting – it really is this easy. As discussed on the page, if you don’t have an electric mixer or blender, a potato masher works just fine.

Cooking With The Classics: To Kill A Mockingbird | The Feed – I’m a major bibliophile & To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my favorites (if my youngest kiddo had been a girl, Harper would have been the middle name after Harper Lee…and we have a cat naed Scout) ,so I loved this post. The recipe for Black-Eyed Peas and Greens is classic and frugal. And I would not judge none of ya’ll for making some of that Lane Cake.

Eat Well, Spend Less: How to Store Pantry Food for Maximum Shelf Life – good info, especially  for those who stock up when they get extra cash (like at income tax return time)

Crock Pot Lentil Soup – sweet potatoes were 39¢/lb the week of Thanksgiving ,so we bought a lot. This was a good use for them.

Non Organic Foods it’s safe to eat – organic foods are just not feasible to buy for some people. These are all “clean” foods that are affordable.

WhyHunger Google+ Hangout talking about #foodjustice and food marketing to kids.

DIY

22 Natural Sore Throat Remedies to Help Soothe the Pain – I’ve used these all at some point.

Detractors seem to think my main objective is to encourage people to “mooch off the government”. Totally off base. The goal is food sovereignty and creating a better system that supports accessibility to food for EVERYONE. The current system? It needs a kick in the teeth. Small scale farming,urban gardens,backyard homesteads,CSAs, community garden plots…. all of these are ways to help everyone have equal accessibility.

Thanks to Seismologik Intelligence for sharing this.

Eco-friendly and green gift wrapping ideas for this holiday season | The Art of Simple -And frugal.

Warm & Fuzzies

Photo: Pictured in the middle is young rap phenom Rich Homie Quan, serving food and helping those in need via the Food Bank For New York City. He's a really good dude and it was a pleasure meeting him. Give Back No Matter What!

Pictured in the middle is young rap phenom Rich Homie Quan, serving food and helping those in need via the Food Bank For New York City. He’s a really good dude and it was a pleasure meeting him. Give Back No Matter What!

Photo: Read/watch the story here: http://cbsn.ws/1hHyTUL

Not only did he give a homeless family a safe place to call home, he brought the family together.The shelter only allowed younger children. The single mom’s older son could not stay in the shelter with them. Now they are a whole family again.
Powerful.
Read/watch the story here: http://cbsn.ws/1hHyTUL

Motivation & Affirmations

(I need this reminder daily)