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May 21, 2007

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Pamela

I am impressed and heartened by your actions, and those of your colleagues. It is rare that those in your position are willing to take on an "in your shoes" awareness project; obviously verified by the lack of participation from most of your fellow members. Thankfully I do not need food stamps, but my family did when I was a little girl. My father has told me of a day when my mother left the food stamp office in tears because we could not get any food stamps. On a pitiful wage, my parents made "too much money". It is that memory that surfaces whenever I think of having to eat on $21 per week- that's insane! The weekly food bill for my pets runs at least $25!
Revisions need to be made, not the least of which would be to allow organic foods and eliminate meat. If you can't stop some people from gorging on lobster and filet mignon, then change the system- make the food stamps valid for certain foods- healthy foods. No meat, and limited dairy for children.
Then, who knows, maybe you could also decrease the obesity rate, which could deflate the health insurance crisis, and in the meantime- save our environment and end factory farming cruelty to animals. It's a win-win-win for everyone, except the profiteers. And therein lies the problem.
Thank you for creating awareness of this issue, and please don't stop there.

Kim Fortin

I found out about what you and the other representatives were doing through Thriftyfun.com. I'm really impressed and appreciate what you and the others did. Thank you for passing along the message of those who can barely get by on the allotment they are given.

Virginia

Thank you for doing this, Congressman and Mrs. McGovern. It's a surprising and humane act. Why don't we talk about the poor in this country? I wept this morning listening to a woman in Houston interviewed on BBC radio about how her lack of health insurance had contributed to her teenaged son's death from cancer. Why can't Americans talk about the injustice of poverty?

judith

Thank you for the courage to investigate the food stamp allotment first hand. It’s been a while since I’ve had to tighten my belt. But, I remember what a humbling experience it it can be. Your headed in the right direction.

magnus

A week that a joke they should of been on it for a month like real food stamp people are and see the reality of starvation when they overspend at the start of the month and starve at the end of each month

kim

There are many problems in the whole "Human Resource" Department.If the actual truth be known what you are not looking at is that most of the ones receiving food stamps are the ones paying for it.It is the poverty level employee.Any one who has ever depended on the assistance programs offered through thier state will tell you it is one of the most frustrating and indignant things a human has to do.You are not expected to live in an area where it is not economically acceptable.The view of a person on food stamps is not a kind one in the eyes of society.What is worst is when you make above min.wage and you live in low cost housing (not Government) and you still do not make enough to feed your family it is a sad world to live in.The budget of food stamps is base on a gross income not a net income and there is a big difference when out of that gross you have insurance and loans and employment expenses and let us not forget taxes and social security payments.Now granted at the end of the year(if you are able to claim 0 dependants all year) you get your taxes back.Which isnt much but can make your car insurance payment for the year or pay a past due utility bill.I know from first hand experience about the way it works and i can tell you there are many things wrong with the system.I want to say thank you to the ones that took the challenge as it shows a great deal of character to try and experience what life is like on the flip side.Also the wait time in the food stamp offices in some areas are over worked and do not provide enough workers to handle the caseloads.In some of the larger cities it might be more benificial to have offices closer to a targeted area.Maybe even substations,so to speak.Yes, it would entail hiring more employees but the work loads might lessen the stress that some case workers are feeling.Most offices are located by county and some counties are larger than others and transportation isnt not always available.It is not really so much by choice to depend on food stamps as it is done so out of need. I am impressed by the ones who took the challenge. I did notice that most were unwilling to commit themselves to it.
So what does that say about who is representing who?What is your representative afraid of?Ask the question who is living more comfortably on their salary.Most people i know do not get to live on what they make.They are barely surviving.Still even with food stamps in hand now i have to question do i pay for the things food stamps dont buy or pay a utility bill (that is so far out of control)or fuel up my gas tank.My congressman will have a nice vacation this year and im sure yours will too.The question is are you getting to take your family on a night out on the weekend?
At poverty level you dont have time to worry about a vacation or a night out with your family.Let me say at $20,000.00 you dont live life you are struggling to survive.And when you have your utilities turned off because you can not afford to pay them and you are told there is no help for you because you earn to much money tell me where are you living beyond your means when utilities are continuing to go up and petro is on a continous high.It doesnt matter if you have food or not you have no place to store it.
So, please if you really want to experience life through the desperation of a poverty working class family take on that challenge.I challenge anyone in congress to live on a mere $20,000.00 a year pay your rent follow all guidelines of the assistance programs you are elgible for and see if you can make it work with out a stuggle.One catch you can not live in government subsidise housing you must live in a mobile home in a mobile home park.Kids have to particapate in the challenge as well.You may not exempt your children from it(your children are not old enough to work).
Bills that you will pay will be,
health insurance
loans
car payments
utilities
phone
internet
gas for your vehicle(s)
car insurance
home owners insurance
work related fees
clothes shoes
toiletries
cleaning products
papergoods
school supplies
food
doctor bills medications if needed
home repairs/improvements
misc.
taxes and social security
now comes the real challenge,
half way through the year you experience an on the job injury and now your pay just cut in half for each of the next 6 months
so whatever you were making a month half is now gone and every thing else has stayed the same.
now throw in an unexpected homerepair and a car repair
now its get really interesting there is a death in your family and no life insurance.the bill on that is lets say $12,000.00
but fortunately you get to split that bill with 4 other people.
ok now the fun begins
You have been told if you do not return to work( with out restrictions) you have just walked away from your job.
all of this occurs in the first 6 months of the year.
Go now and start asking for assistance.
I wish you all good luck in this challenge if you decide to take it.This is what my mile in my shoes looks like.Does your come anywhere close to mine?Can you say with out question there is a program out there to help you in any area.
First place to start is Department of Human Resources.
Ill give you a bit of a hint, you are in a 2 parent household
only one of you is working.Truely i wish you all the best with this challenge.

kim from illinois

Gloria

I just came across the article about the Food Stamp Challenge! I wish it had been publicized more widely to get this important message out!

I am on food stamps and have been for years...due to my multiple health problems. I am not one of those who people talk about as "they just need to get a job" or "they are just working the system". I was doing some sewing to make some money but find it painful now and have had to stop so I no longer have any income at all. -->Have you ever considered how it would be to live with no income?How do chronic health issues fit into the food stamp allotment?<-- I have to eat as often as 8 times per day and as healthy as possible to feel just sort of okay. Diabetes, heart related health issues, and the many others that require a totally healthy diet are just not possible on the allotment given.

Health care should be another priority! No one in this country should be denied health quality health care for any reason! I am fortuate to be on a county run health care program. Without it... I may not be here to be writing to you...

Thank you so much for taking the challenge as you did! I wish you much success and please do not ever forget the less fortunate in this country... we matter too!

Bernard Farrell

Thanks Congressman for doing this.

I'm thankful that I don't need food stamps to live on. This is a blessing that I try not to take for granted.

I'll contact my Mass. congressman's office to make sure that he supports this bill.

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