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June 06, 2007


Katy Keiffer

In following the story of the Food Stamp Challenge, a laudable experiment on the part of legislators, I am struck by the apparently universal lack of basic information about how to cook simple food. In reading over Congresswoman Lee's account of what she and other participants in the challenge bought, I was dismayed by the wasted money on products like crackers or canned vegetables, both expensive and less nutritious than many other products. There are two points to make here:
First is that Home Ec, the much maligned course for girls given in school in the 50's should be returned, with a face lift, to curriculum in schools, as well as in shelters and other programs targeting low income populations. Budgeting, nutrition, and food prep are as important as math and science. In fact, both disciplines can be put to use within those contexts.
Secondly, even some of the poorest people in countries around the world manage to eat tasty, healthy food for literally pennies a day because the population is still being taught kitchen skills. Mexicans, African, Indians and Asians all have far better diets than most Americans and with far fewer financial resources. Why? Because good food and cooking are still an important part of their culture.
If we are truly concerned with childhood obesity, better nutrition and stretching the value of these pitifully few dollars, then young parents and children should be given instruction on how to take better care of themselves through education in food prep and nutrition. I certainly advocate increasing the budget for food stamps, but ultimately the real savings would come from people having more information and making better choices for themselves and their kids. Why isn't this part of the overall discussion?

Layla Stryker

There is a reason many families on foodstamps have to buy such unhealthy food. IT DOESNT SPOIL.
Being on foodstamps myself, and being allotted so LITTLE money for both me and MY daughter (they claim she doesnt qualify for benefits because im under 21 and she is only 1) i know this.
MANY of us, have no real means of transportation. I am SO poor i cant even afford a bus pass, which has in part, to do with the fact that my citys transportation is the second most expensive system in the COUNTRY.
its HARD to go supermarket shopping for food frequently. Between work, daycare, getting baby supplies, trying to figure out HOW to afford all of the above..food really is just one of the harder things to do.
I suggest you try carrying a thirty pound baby on a crowded bus in 100 degree heat, with refrigerated foods..only to have most of them be spoiled or thawed by the time you get home.
its really HARD.
sure, i cant cook for beans. Alot of that has to do with the fact that I CANT AFFORD THE INGREDIENTS of a meal im NOT allergic to.
Foodstamps dont take into account what youre allergic to. Sure, i can get five gallons of whole milk. Problem is IM ALLEGRGIC TO MILK. Allergic to eggs, wheat and yeast too. Now you, try buying healthy food on that restrictive diet.
meat is EXPENSIVE, and soy is even MORE expensive.
I dont see why i shouldnt be able to buy apples and bananas for my toddler, and a chicken for me, to last the entire week.
i dont see why i should have to go to local churches and BEG for baby food.
People in other countries dont exist on healthy meals by buying them. ALOT of other countries..you can WALK outside and pick fruit, or grow your own. You can hunt a deer, or shoot a rabbit for dinner.
Here, that requires money..for various things..and time, which is rare for someone so poor.
I would never buy rice, or peas..as they are just plain useless.
A large tub of applesauce and a crate of ramen is what is best..at 15 cents a meal for ramen..once and a while you can afford to get near expired chicken legs for a meal.
Dont automatically assume that people need to learn how to cook, to exist on healthy food. We need the healthy food to put into our meals first. Why dont YOU try to eat on 21 dollars a week for you, with dietary restrictions, and feed a VERY VERY hungry toddler too.
Since youre so insistent that i need to learn to cook..can you buy me pots and pans, and real dishes and utensils..since i cant afford any? can you also pay for the electricity my fridge will use (if i ever plug it in) and the electric for my stove and oven?
Another HUGE part of foodstamp problems..is that people THIS poor aree in dire need of decent public housing (if not just housing at all)
My rent FAR exceeds my income..and my area has a TEN YEAR CLOSED WAITING LIST for public housing. the list has been closed for four years, and isnt expeceted to open FOR APPLICATIONS TO THE WAITING LIST for another two. In the meantime, i have to try to find a way to pay rent for a small, disgusting apartment i cant afford, daycare, baby products and perhaps a little supplemental food money.
MANY factors pay into why people cant afford to eat healthy meals. You just see what you want to see..a biased view. Live my life, and tell me you still wish i had been required to take home ec in highschool, versus the business classes, psych, advanced chem, and AP calc, and maintained my 4.0 gpa. If i had taken home ec, i NEVER would have qualified to get into ivy league schools, and i never would have been able to get back in, after having to refuse entrance to the schools, due to teenage pregnancy.
Dont think were all uneducated saps mooching off the government. believe me, if i knew another way, I WOULD GLADLY TAKE IT. The firey hoops i have to jump through just to get my monthly case of ramen is insane.
Please, give these politicans credit for being so daring. Instead of bashing these politicans, how about you bash paris hilton or some other "celebrity" for spending SO much money on hair, make up (everynight) 1200$ hair cuts, cars, lawyers, and drugs.
Do you have ANY idea what i could do with the money you make in a week? I might be able to wash my clothes this week. I might be able to pay off my 20 grand in debt, aquired for the most part, by lack of assistance by the government.
I might be able to afford to take my childs millionaire father to court for the child support my daughter and i desperately need.
Do your research before you bash someone for trying to bring attention to the plight of truly poor citizens.

Rebekah Omo

Layla Stryker. Yous sound just like me. In fact, it's like you are me. The difference is that I can acutally cook. But foodstamp DOES NOT COVER THE INGREDIENTS. You are right, we qualify as 1 beacause our kids aren't "old enough". It's a scary world out there. I took the same classes and appreciate that after having my baby, my grades were impressive so that I am able to go to a half-decent school. I really do wish there was something we can do for young girls who have babies to wealthy men who DON'T pay child support. It erks me. Well, I wish you the best in life. We WILL survive on our $3 a day budget. (On the bright side, we won't get "obese" because we are wanting for food, but we will still be unhealthy)

Layla Stryker

Rebekah, I cant believe i just happened to come across this site (again) right after you posted!

I can cook pretty well for having been a fosterchild (where they rarely let you cook for fear youll burn down their house out of spite) and having no one to teach me these things.

I can make basic things for my toddler (who now, thanks to being nearly 2 has a MUCH less restrictive diet) like eggs, chicken breasts and grilled cheese, but that still doesnt make it less expensive.

I dont mind eating bland food. I mind eating incredibly unhealthy food, like Ramen Noodles. Deep fried salt caked noodles arent exactly healthy.

Id kill for a bag of apples, some fresh strawberries and a cup of pineapple. Ive been craving pineapple for over a year now.

At 4$ for 5 ounces, i surely cant afford it.

I appreciate the help the government DOES give, but i dont appreciate how its one big machine.

My daughters father IS SWIMMING in money, and i get minimum child support because he lied about his income to the IRS, and i cant prove it wrong.

Because i do receive child support (its not enough to buy one pack of diapers a month) my local DPW, upon this years review, cut my foodstamps down.

Fine. Its fair.

But because my landlord changed their policy on electricty billing, and started including it in the rent (which amazingly went up) DPW cut my food stamps down 83%!

I was paying 800$ a month in rent for a crappy 1 bedroom apartment + an average of 38.00$ a month for electricity.

So, my foodstamps went down 83% for that? Hell i asked my landlord to start charging me for it again!

I can understand taking 40$ off my foodstamps a month since electricty is now included..but come on!

between my daughter and i, we now get 56.00$ a month TOTAL for foodstamps.

I still make 632.00$ a month (im permanetly disabled)and i can no longer work (i was temping at some local offices for extra cash) due to a new heart problem.

I challenge ANYONE to feed themselves for 56.00$ a month, much less two people.

its sad. I go to school, im doing everything i can to get by and make things better, but i feel like im being screwed over.

Good luck to you as well R.


baby carriers backpacks

whew im drooling over the burrito

Wil Pearson

In this day and age no one should be short of food particularly in the USA. I live in the UK and I believe the Social Security benefits are much better but even so you'd think in the land of the free people wouldn't go hungry :(


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